Road closures as historic Wickham Horse Fair returns

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HUNDREDS of people are due to descend on a village for a horse fair steeped in history.

Wickham Horse Fair is due to take place on May 21, with dozens of horses set to be paraded through the village.

The Wickham Horse Fair in 2017.  Picture: Keith Woodland

The Wickham Horse Fair in 2017. Picture: Keith Woodland

About 2,000 travellers are expected to take part in the fair, which has in the past been marred by violent clashes.

But police last year confirmed they are reducing the number of officers involved in policing the event year-by-year.

A Hampshire police spokesman said: ‘We are working closely with local authority partners and businesses to help ensure a safe environment for visitors and residents at the event.

‘You should familiarise yourselves with the road closures and parking arrangements, which are being made to minimise disruption to local people and motorists.

‘Officers in high visibility uniforms will be available throughout the event to respond to any issues that arise.’

The Wickham Horse Fair has run in the town for hundreds of years and is protected by a Royal Charter from King Henry III, dating from 1269.

In previous years The Square was shut for two days around the festival.
The A334 Winchester Road will be closed between Blind Lane and the A32 from 5am to 8pm on the day of the fair, and the nearside lane of the A32 southbound at Hoads Hill is usually used for parking by visitors.
RSPCA inspectors are expected to visit the fair to check on the welfare of animals.
Last year the day was marred by two minor punch-ups,
an emaciated colt being seized by the RSPCA and owners of 10 other horses being told to withdraw their animals from show or sale due to poor condition.

Pubs in the area normally shut for two days around the fair.

Residents are ordinarily handed permits to allow access through the closure points, although the road immediately adjacent to the entrance to The Square is not normally passable due to the presence of horses and crowds in the road.