THE nation's biggest and oldest horse fair will take place in Hampshire again today (Weds, May 20).

The Wickham Fair, which has a heritage dating back more than 800 years, will take place throughout the day with thousands of travellers expected to attend.

This year's event will include a gypsy horse-run and a funfair in The Square, as well as the age-old traditional parade of decorated shire horses and Shetland ponies.

The Wickham Horse Fair is one of just two major horse-trading events in the country and can trace its history back to the 13th century.

Ever since, crowds have gathered annually in the quiet village to trade secrets, meet with friends and parade their stock for all to see.

Over the years, since Roger de Syres first obtained a Royal Charter from King Henry III in 1269 for a weekly market in his manor, the fair has evolved to include bareback parades with ponies decorated with ribbon.

There will be a number of road closures in place throughout the event, with the A334 Winchester Road closed between the traffic signals at Blind Lane and the roundabout junction of the A32 between 5am and 8pm.

The Square will be closed to traffic until early on tomorrow (Thurs, May 21).