Popular horse fair to return to village today

Picture: UKNIP
Picture: UKNIP

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THOUSANDS of people are expected to visit Wickham today for the annual Horse Fair.

The festival dates back more than 800 years and is an annual staple of the travelling community.

Road closures and parking spaces been set up to handle the extra visitors and there will be police officers in high-visibility clothing to keep watch over proceedings.

The fair takes place in The Square, which will be closed from 4.30am until 8pm today.

The A334 will also be shut between Blind Lane and the roundabout junction at the A32, while the nearside lane of the A32 southbound at Hoads Hill will be used for parking.

Hampshire police has said officers will be available ‘to respond to any issues that may arise’.

In recent years the fair has been marred by violence, including in 2014 when police had to break up a fight between two men who ran into the cordoned-off horse track.

A year before at least six people were arrested after violent clashes, including a man being shot in the head with a missile fired from a catapult.

About 2,000 people attended last year’s event, but no injuries or incidents were reported.