Preparations are underway across County Durham for Gypsies and Travellers heading to this year’s Appleby Horse Fair.
Temporary Stop Over Areas (TSOA) are being set up in the Teesdale and South West Durham areas ahead of the annual event, which runs in the Cumbrian village from Friday, 7 June to Sunday, 9 June.
The nine designated TSOAs are located along the traditional travelling routes to Appleby: Westerton Layby, Tindale Park, Wackerfield Layby, Winston Corner, Broomielaw Picnic Area, Stainton Bank, Shaw Bank Field, Binchester Corner and Guidepost Corner, Bowes.
They will be open between Friday, 25 May and Friday, 22 June, with Tindale Park opening a week earlier on Friday, 17 May. There is also a TSOA at Gurney Valley, Bishop Auckland, which is open now and throughout the summer.
Durham County Council’s Gypsy, Roma, Traveller Service (GRTS) will ensure facilities are provided at all TSOAs, including temporary toilet facilities, refuse collections and, in some cases, water supply for animals. This is to encourage people to use TSOAs, rather than unauthorised encampments.
Officers from the GRTS and the council’s neighbourhood wardens will be making regular visits to the TSOAs, as well as visiting any unauthorised encampments.
The TSOAs are being provided as part of a coordinated response from the South West Durham Residents’, Business’ and Travellers’ Forum and the Teesdale Residents’ and Travellers’ Forum, which include representatives from the county, town and parish councils, Durham Constabulary, local businesses and the Gypsy, Roma, Traveller communities.
Mike Taylor, chair of the Teesdale Residents’ and Travellers’ Forum and a member of the South West Durham Residents’, Business’ and Travellers’ Forum, said: “All members of both forums will address any problems which are brought to them by residents and businesses in the area they represent in order that the migration period both to and from Appleby Horse Fair passes without incident.”
Sergeant Simon Rogers, of Barnard Castle Neighbourhood Police Team, said: “The police and our partners will be monitoring the migration through Teesdale and will be supporting our communities, with extra patrols on the run up to, during and after the event.
“Some residents accept the migration of Travellers through Teesdale at this time of the year, but others have concerns about the potential for trespass and there can be feelings of unease from the settled community.
“Our joined-up approach means that, in recent years, we have experienced a relatively small number of incidents directly linked to the Travellers.”
Temporary signposts will be in place to show the locations of key TSOAs and to advise residents and road users. Signs will also be put up at each location outlining the conditions and expectations for anyone using the facilities.
Ian Hoult, neighbourhood protection manager at Durham County Council, said: “We would encourage those making their way to Appleby Fair to use our temporary stop over areas as they travel through County Durham.
“We are committed to working with our partners to provide these locations, which are equipped with a range of facilities that won’t be found at an unauthorised camp.”
Those travelling to the fair are being advised not to set off too early to prevent people arriving before the TSOAs open. Fair organisers are also encouraging those who plan on attending the event with trailers, towed caravans or horse drawn wagons not to arrive at the fair too far in advance of it starting.
For more information about the fair, visit
Any members of the public wishing to speak to the Gypsy, Roma, Traveller service can call 03000 260 000.