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Appleby horse fair: Gypsies and travellers wash their horses in the river

Thousands of travelers from across Europe have settled in Cumbria as the Appleby Horse Fair enters its second day today.

Photos showed owners washing their horses in the waters of the River Eden, while others rode through the city streets in horse carts.

In the small town of Appleby-in-Westmorland and neighboring Kirkby Stephen, a total of 30,000 visitors are expected for the annual four-day event.

About 10,000 of these will be members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveler community, with the 250-year-old funfair heralded as the largest traditional community gathering in Europe.

Aerial photos show that hundreds of caravans and horse-drawn carriages have moved into the area as their owners set up camp in fields nearby.

A woman rides her horse in the River Eden, on day two of the Appleby Horse Fair, the annual gathering of gypsies and travelers

A woman rides her horse in the River Eden, on day two of the Appleby Horse Fair, the annual gathering of gypsies and travelers

Washing horses in the river - which runs through Appleby - is a tradition that has long characterized the historic funfair

Washing horses in the river – which runs through Appleby – is a tradition that has long characterized the historic funfair

This woman finally took a dip herself after riding her horse into the River Eden, which flows into the Solway Firth

This woman finally took a dip herself after riding her horse into the River Eden, which flows into the Solway Firth

A total of 30,000 visitors are expected to gather in the small town of Appleby-in-Westmorland and neighboring Kirkby Stephen for the annual four-day event

A total of 30,000 visitors are expected to gather in the small town of Appleby-in-Westmorland and neighboring Kirkby Stephen for the annual four-day event

A man today using a bucket to wash his horse in the River Eden.  After being washed, horses are usually taken to be sold

A man today using a bucket to wash his horse in the River Eden. After being washed, horses are usually taken to be sold

A woman rides through the River Eden on her white and black steed on day two of today's Appleby Horse Fair

A woman rides through the River Eden on her white and black steed on day two of today’s Appleby Horse Fair

Appleby Horse Fair: Historic Event Dating Back to 1685

The fair is held outside the town of Appleby, at the point where the ancient Roman road intersects Long Marton Road, on Gallows Hill, which is named after the public hangings once performed there.

The funfair was once thought to stem from a royal charter to the borough of Appleby from King James II of England in 1685, although more recent research has indicated that the charter was canceled before it was ever issued.

The gathering is also known as ‘the New Fair’ because Appleby’s medieval town fair, held at Pentecost, closed in 1885.

The ‘New Fair’ started in 1775 for sheep and cattle drivers and horse traders to sell their livestock.

By the 1900s it had grown into a major gypsy/traveler event attracting families from all over the UK and Europe.

In preparation, some local pubs have decided to close their doors during the week of the show, with organizers confirming that at least 11 pubs in Appleby and Kirkby Stephen will not open during the event.

In the run-up to the fair, Cumbria Police are urging motorists to drive carefully in the area and told the public to report any concerns.

Police said they made arrests for theft and drug-driving and were called to the scene of an accident that killed a horse and injured three people before the fair started.

Appleby Primary School, on Station Road, will close tomorrow on June 10 due to the event.

Cumbria County Council said: ‘The closure is due to the health and safety of pupils traveling to and from school during Appleby New Fair.’

The RSPCA also advises visitors to Appleby Horse Fair not to sell or buy puppies at the event, citing concerns that many could be sick.

“I cannot emphasize enough to Appleby visitors that it is really not a good idea to buy a puppy from the exchange,” said RSPCA Superintendent Rob Melloy.

“Last year we saw a lot of puppies being sold and some were so sick that they had to be put to sleep by a vet. It’s so tragic, but if people keep buying them at the fair, breeders will keep bringing them every year.”

The Appleby Horse Fair takes place in early June each year, with this year’s edition being held a week later than planned after organizers postponed it to make way for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

It comes after the Covid pandemic impacted the past two years, with the fair being canceled in 2020 and postponed in 2021.

About 10,000 of those who gather at the event will be members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveler community, heralding the 250-year-old funfair as the largest traditional community gathering in Europe

About 10,000 of those who gather at the event will be members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveler community, heralding the 250-year-old funfair as the largest traditional community gathering in Europe

Two uncles ride through the streets of Appleby on a horse-drawn carriage as the famous funfair enters its second day

Two uncles ride through the streets of Appleby on a horse-drawn carriage as the famous funfair enters its second day

Aerial photos show that hundreds of caravans and horse-drawn carriages have moved into the area as their owners set up camp in fields nearby.

Aerial photos show that hundreds of caravans and horse-drawn carriages have moved into the area as their owners set up camp in fields nearby.

Les Clark, chairman of the Appleby Horse Fair Multi-Agency Strategic Coordinating Group (MASCG), said: “All the agencies involved in responding to the fair were eager to reach a compromise that would benefit both the established communities of Appleby and surrounding areas as well as the Gypsy and Traveler communities to host and enjoy both celebrations.

“We are grateful to the Gypsy and Traveler representatives in the multi-agency strategic coordination group for their flexibility in moving the date of the fair next year to accommodate the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.”

Motorists in the area have been warned that there will be horses and carts on the road and are asked to exercise caution.

Earlier this week, a horse was killed after being involved in a collision with a vehicle while pulling a carriage on the A66 on Monday morning.

The busy road, which is one of the main routes into the area, was closed while police dealt with the incident, which left three people in the carriage with minor injuries.

Cumbria Police said they had made no arrests following the incident and the driver of the motor vehicle was unharmed.

Chief Superintendent Matt Kennerley, Gold Commander for Appleby Horse Fair, said: ‘At this time of year we always urge drivers to be particularly careful on country roads.

“The chances of encountering slow traffic are high, so we all have to pay attention behind the wheel.

“I urge people to take extra care on the A66, where speeding vehicles may encounter slow moving, often horse-drawn vehicles, and also on the A685 near Kirkby Stephen, where caravans and horses sit side by side.” stand. off the road. While we already have a large number of agents in these areas, we have further expanded our resources here to reassure people and keep everyone safe.

“By being aware of the potential hazards, we can all do our part to ensure everyone gets to their destination safely and without incident.”

Traditionally, horses are washed in the River Eden at Appleby and trotted up and down the 'flashing lane' - a closed country road - before being negotiated and bought

Traditionally, horses are washed in the River Eden at Appleby and trotted up and down the ‘flashing lane’ – a closed country road – before being negotiated and bought

A man washes his horse in a shallow section of the River Eden - which runs through the center of Appleby in Cumbria

A man washes his horse in a shallow section of the River Eden – which runs through the center of Appleby in Cumbria

The meeting is billed as the largest traditional gypsy fair in Europe and has developed traditions that take place every year

The meeting is billed as the largest traditional gypsy fair in Europe and has developed traditions that take place every year

This year, the police have changed the traffic rules so that local roads can be opened and closed if necessary.

The number of temporary toilets has also been increased and there will be daily meetings of the fair’s coordinating group.

In its 250-year history, the fair has only been canceled twice, the first in 2001 during the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak and the second in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The meeting is billed as the largest traditional gypsy fair in Europe and has developed traditions that take place every year.

Horses are washed in the River Eden at Appleby and trot up and down the ‘flashing lane’ – a closed country road – before being negotiated and bought.

There is a market on Jimmy Winter’s Field with stalls selling everything from fashion to horse-related items.

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