Appleby Horse Fair

So the gypsy horse fair is over and things can begin to get back to normal. I love the traditional aspects of it - the horses and the beautiful painted caravans, but there’s little of that left now. The painted caravans are there for show and people actually sleep in the modern, chrome plated affairs parked next door. The horses too are just a commodity - transport is in four wheel drives, or the convertible Audis that seem to be the favoured vehicle at the moment.

Up on Fair Hill - about a mile out of Appleby - is the main encampment - a collection of the old vardas and newer caravans. Every road verge and patch of grass has horses tethered on it.

The country lane is closed to traffic and converted into a race track, where the trotting horses are put through their paces in front of potential buyers.
This is the picturesque side of the Fair. Tomorrow I’ll show you a different one - a tale of police harassment and public disorder.
But I did feel quite sad, watching the last of the vardas trotting up the hill out of Appleby, heading home - or just possibly the next Fair.


  1. Thanks for this series on the Appley Horse Fair.
    I've enjoyed them all.

    I love the intricate work on the front of the varda.

    Isn't it odd when tradition becomes just another commodity.


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