Stunning photographs showcase Europe's largest gathering of gipsies and ...

Every year thousands of gipsies and travellers flock to a small market town in Cumbria to showcase their wares and swap notes about life on the road - and now stunning photographs reveal an insider's view of Appleby Fair.

Held in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Europe's largest gipsy gathering usually plays host to around 10,000 gipsies and travellers, as well as 20,000 other people for several days of trade, competition and festivities.  

The fair temporarily transforms the quaint Cumbrian town - which usually has a population of 3,000 - and always takes place at the beginning of June, running from a Thursday to the following Wednesday.

During the event hundreds of horses are paraded through a 'flashing lane', part of the River Eden (pictured), and washed in the waters there. Many are also trotted around the town, as it is a good way to show off the animals. The ritual began in the 17th century as a way of washing the horses and making them more presentable for potential buyers

During the event hundreds of horses are paraded through a 'flashing lane', part of the River Eden (pictured), and washed in the waters there. Many are also trotted around the town, as it is a good way to show off the animals. The ritual began in the 17th century as a way of washing the horses and making them more presentable for potential buyers

Held in Appleby-in-Westmorland, the gathering usually plays host to around 10,000 gipsies and travellers, as well as 20,000 other people for several days of trade, competition and festivities. Photographer Stefy Pocket attended the fair last year, and captured these stunning images

Held in Appleby-in-Westmorland, the gathering usually plays host to around 10,000 gipsies and travellers, as well as 20,000 other people for several days of trade, competition and festivities. Photographer Stefy Pocket attended the fair last year, and captured these stunning images

The event, which also sees around 1,000 caravans and several hundred horse-drawn vehicles (one is pictured) arrive in the town, is seen as more of a leisure activity now - with many treating it as a traditional family holiday. Horses are paraded through the quaint market town, many attached to carts 

The event, which also sees around 1,000 caravans and several hundred horse-drawn vehicles (one is pictured) arrive in the town, is seen as more of a leisure activity now - with many treating it as a traditional family holiday. Horses are paraded through the quaint market town, many attached to carts 

Dating back to 1775 (though some say it goes back further), Appleby first became a major date on the gipsy calendar in the 1900s. It now sees hundreds of gipsy and traveller families attend every year

Hundreds of gipsy and traveller families attend the event, held in early June every year. Many dress up (pictured) for the fair, which includes several days of trade, competition and festivities

Hundreds of gipsy and traveller families attend the event, held in early June every year. Many dress up (right) for the fair, which includes several days of trade, competition and festivities. Many of the travellers arrive on bowtop caravans - also known as vardos - which are highly decorative wooden wagons from the British-Romani tradition

Dating back to 1775 (though some say it goes back further), Appleby first became a major date on the gipsy calendar in the 1900s.

Back then, bare knuckle boxing and horse sales, along with an opportunity to mingle with a who's who of the gipsy community, saw thousands from the UK, Ireland and further afield descend on the town.

But now the event, which also sees around 1,000 caravans and several hundred horse-drawn vehicles arrive in the town, is seen as more of a leisure activity - with many treating it as a traditional family holiday. 

During the event hundreds of horses are paraded through a 'flashing lane', part of the River Eden, and washed in

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