Travellers in caravans descend on Appleby for Europe's biggest horse fair

  • People were seen in bow-top caravans being led by horses in Appleby, Cumbria
  • Appleby Horse Fair is expected to see 30,000 visitors over the next week

Travellers in traditional caravans were seen arriving in Cumbria ahead of one of Europe’s largest horse fairs.

People were seen sat in the bow-top caravans being led by horses along a road in Appleby, Cumbria, ahead of Appleby Horse Fair which begins on Thursday.

In one photo, a man in a grey vest and jeans can be seen leading two decorated white horses pulling the caravan behind them.

And in another, two horses can be seen towing a caravan while two people sit in the caravan at the reins.

The event is expected to see 30,000 visitors over the next week with 10,000 of them from the gypsy, Roma and traveller community.

travellers in caravans descend on appleby for europe's biggest horse fair

Travellers in traditional caravans were seen arriving in Cumbria ahead of one of Europe’s largest horse fairs

travellers in caravans descend on appleby for europe's biggest horse fair

People were seen sat in the bow-top caravans being led by horses along a road in Appleby, Cumrbia, ahead of Appleby Horse Fair which begins on Thursday

On Monday, a man, thought to be a traveller, trotted a pony into a pub ahead of the fair as stunned drinkers watched on in bewilderment.

The footage, captured at the Crown and Cushion Pub in Appleby, Cumbria, shows a white pony being trotted through the entrance and into a bar area filled with drinkers.

In the video, a man in a white T-shirt and shorts can be seen walking in with the pony as stunned drinkers watch on and children get up to stroke it.

It is thought the animal’s owner was hoping to secure an impromptu sale so brought it through the bar of the pub to show it off.

But already furious locals, who liken it to the Wild West, say there have been numerous incidents of disorder and disruption.

One onlooker said: ‘You can’t believe the audacity of these people to bring a horse trotting straight into a pub.

travellers in caravans descend on appleby for europe's biggest horse fair

The event is expected to see 30,000 visitors over the next week with 10,000 of them from the gypsy, Roma and traveller community

travellers in caravans descend on appleby for europe's biggest horse fair

Pictured: A horse tows a man in Cumbria ahead of the Appleby Horse Fair on Thursday

‘No one blames the landlord, there’s nothing he can do when his pub has been completely taken over, it’s a question of mob rule and there’s nothing he could have done.

‘It was clear that the horse was being put up for sale and was being shown off to potential buyers.

‘It’s bad enough that the streets of the town are taken over for horse trading without it happening inside our pubs as well.

‘Every year we go from a peaceful town to being overrun by drink-related disorder in the streets that make the place look like a town from the Wild West.’

Appleby Fair Community Group, set up by local people to oppose the ‘infliction’ of the fair, says there have already been numerous concerns reported.

The AFCG reports eggs being thrown at people and passing cars, liquid thrown at people or squirted from water pistols and drunken fights breaking out on the streets of Appleby and neighbouring Kirkby Stephen.

travellers in caravans descend on appleby for europe's biggest horse fair

Pictured: A man races by in a one-horse shay in Appleby, Cumbria, ahead of Thursday’s fair

travellers in caravans descend on appleby for europe's biggest horse fair

Pictured: A woman sits on top of a four-wheel horse carriage in Appleby, Cumbria, today

travellers in caravans descend on appleby for europe's biggest horse fair

Pictured: A man and two teenagers relax on a two-wheel horse carriage in Appleby, Cumbria

travellers in caravans descend on appleby for europe's biggest horse fair

Pictured: Two men ride a carriage drawn by a horse in Appleby, Cumbria, ahead of Thursday’s fair

Appleby Primary School will be closed on the first full day of the fair following a risk assessment over the safety of children.

A farmer claims travelling families have slashed open hay bales to feed horses and a new bar area will be opened in a field adjacent to the showground despite the objections of locals.

The fair is held outside the town of Appleby, at the point where the old Roman Road crosses Long Marton Road, on Gallows Hill, which was named after the public hangings that were once carried out there.

It was once thought the fair originated from a royal charter to the borough of Appleby from King James II of England in 1685, although more recent research has found the charter was cancelled before it was ever enacted.

The gathering is sometimes known as ‘the New Fair’ because Appleby’s medieval borough fair, held at Whitsuntide, ceased in 1885.

The ‘New Fair’ began in 1775 for sheep and cattle drovers and horse dealers to sell their stock.

By the 1900s it had evolved into a major traveller event which brought families from across the UK and Europe.

Read more

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