Thousands of travellers head from miles around to Appleby Horse Fair

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Thousands are set to descend on the Westmorland area of Cumbria as travellers head for miles to the infamous Appleby Horse Fair.

Europe's biggest gathering of gipsies is set to kick off tomorrow, and many have already started to make their way to the festival, creating hordes of traffic on the A66 near the event site.

The well renowned horse fair is a key event in the travelling community and for those who ride and breed horses. It's also a  chance for people to buy horses and to socialise.

The event attracts around 10,000 people every year with riders often riding their horses up and down the main road to allow prospective buyers to assess their form and fitness. 

One tradition which had continued through the ages is the washing of the horses in the River Eden, which is undertaken in order to get the horses ready for their debuts.

The fair begins tomorrow and lasts for three days, but eager travellers have turned up ahead of schedule and are camping on the sides of nearby roads.

They can be seen tending to their horses and smoking outside traditional caravans as they wait for the fun to begin.

However, not everyone is excited for the horse fair with many residents of Appleby having said they are fearing for their safety. 

Travellers were pictured making their way to the event earlier today and until the fair opens, many gather on the road verges leading into the Cumbrian town

Travellers were pictured making their way to the event earlier today and until the fair opens, many gather on the road verges leading into the Cumbrian town

Members of the traveling community

Members of the traveling community

Friends and families have set themselves up on the verges outside of Appleby (left) as they prepare for the fun packed event tomorrow

One horse took time to relax and grazed on some grass and foliage before the big event kicks off tomorrow in the village

One horse took time to relax and grazed on some grass and foliage before the big event kicks off tomorrow in the village 

Members of the travelling community from across Britain are due to arrive in Appleby tomorrow for the biggest horse fair of the year

Members of the travelling community from across Britain are due to arrive in Appleby tomorrow for the biggest horse fair of the year

My Little Pony! These adorable ponies were grazing this afternoon as their owners prepared themselves for the event which takes place every year

My Little Pony! These adorable ponies were grazing this afternoon as their owners prepared themselves for the event which takes place every year

Some residents said the event has just gotten too big and that it wasn't what it had been 20 years ago.

It was lovely you could walk round everyone was friendly. It's just got too big for the area.

'There is no respect for locals who are just trying to get on and you don't feel safe you feel threatened.'

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