Travellers descend on small Cumbrian town for Europe's biggest gypsy fair and wash horses in river | The Sun

TRAVELLERS have made their way to a small town in Cumbria to take part in Europe’s largest gypsy fair.

Members of the Gyspy, Roma and Travelling community have arrived in Appleby to take part in the annual week-long fair.

Many have already ridden their horses into the River Eden for a dip as part of long-standing tradition which goes back centuries.

Around 40,000 people are due at the fair over the next next seven days.

Travellers rode traditional horse and bow top carts along country roads towards the site.

Cops have appealed to drivers on the A66 across three counties to take extra care after a horse died and three people were injured after a crash on Monday when a bow top van pulled by two horses; a box van and a pickup truck were involved in a collision at North Stainmore on the border between Cumbria and Durham.

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The three people injured were released from hospital after treatment, The Northern Echo reports.

The A66 is one of the main routes into Appleby from North Yorkshire and Durham.

Chief Superintendent Matt Kennerley, Gold Commander for Appleby Horse Fair from Cumbria Police said: “At this time of year we always urge drivers to be particularly careful on the county’s roads.

"The likelihood of encountering slow-moving traffic is high so we must all be attentive behind the wheel.

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“I urge people to take particular care on the A66, where fast-moving vehicles can come across slow-moving, often horse-drawn, vehicles and also the A685 in the vicinity of Kirkby Stephen, where there are caravans and horses by the side of the road.

"Whilst we already have large numbers of officers in these areas, we have further increased our resourcing here, to reassure people and help keep everyone safe.

“By being aware of the potential dangers, we can all do our part to make sure everyone reaches their destination safely and without incident.”

In 2006 a traveller from Durham was killed and his teenage son injured after a car collided with their horse-drawn caravan on the road as they were making their way to the Fair.

Appleby Fair, which dates back some 250 years, attracts thousands of visitors from all over Europe and particularly the north of England.

The fair originated in the 1770s on Gallows Hill where sheep, cattle and horse dealers went to sell their stock.

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By the 1900s it had evolved into an event for Gypsies and Travellers.

It officially kicks off tomorrow, June 9.

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