Travellers arrive to show off their steeds at 800-year-old horse fair as fires and barbecues are BANNED to stop wild fires in current heatwave

  • Crowds gathering today for the start of the centuries-old Lee Gap Horse Fair which kicks off in West Yorkshire
  • The historical festival, first chartered in 1139, is hailed as a time for celebration for the traveller community
  • Organisers have asked attendees to avoid lighting open fires due to the heightened risk caused by heat wave 

Thousands of travellers are set to descend on a Yorkshire village for an annual horse fair that dates back 800 years as organisers have banned barbecues due to the current heatwave.

The horse trading fair has taken place on Baghill Green, in West Ardsley, Yorkshire, for almost 1,000 years.

The festival is said to have been chartered by King Stephen in 1139, which would mean it is England’s oldest horse fair.

A post from the organising committee urged attendees to avoid lighting open fires due to the hot weather as it would risk their use of the land for future events.

A statement from the committee shared on social media said: ‘Given the hot weather we also ask that no fires are lit as this could prove dangerous

‘The landowners always ask that we don’t permit open fires each year as failure to do this would mean we lose the use of the land.

‘Thanks for understanding lee fair committee.’

There are two fairs that take place every year; the first on August 24 and the second – Latter Lee – on September 17.

While the fair is a time for celebration for the traveller community, it can cause disturbance for locals, with some suggesting it ‘divides the community deeply’ and highlighted how ‘pub landlords have to shut their doors for two to three days’ last year.

Thousands of travellers are set to descend on West Ardsley, near Leeds, for the 800-year-old Lee Gap Horse Fair 

The annual Lee Gap Horse Fair held at West Ardsley, near Leeds, West Yorkshire

Pictured: Hundreds descend on the village of West Ardsley for the annual Lee Gap Horse Fair held near Leeds, West Yorkshire


Pictured: The annual Lee Gap Horse Fair held at West Ardsley, near Leeds, West Yorkshire

Pictured: The annual Lee Gap Horse Fair held at West Ardsley, near Leeds, West Yorkshire


Two of the many horses on display at the Lee Gap Horse Fair, which kicks off near Wakefield, West Yorkshire today


There are two fairs that take place every year; the first on August 24 and the second – Latter Lee – on September 17

The festival is said to have been chartered by King Stephen in 1139, which would mean it is England’s oldest horse fair

The horse trading fair (pictured) has taken place on Baghill Green – fields off Heybeck Lane, for almost 1,000 years

Originally, the fair would last for three weeks, but now, the festival is held on two days, August 24 and September 17

The event (pictured) is one of the biggest and most anticipated of the year among the traveller community

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