Cattle market that became world famous
It is, perhaps, the most Devonian place in Devon.
Somehow wonderful Widecombe-in-the Moor presents the very quintessence of the county, and it does so with resounding, effortless, aplomb.
If counties were required to put forward candidates for a national register of memorable places, then it's likely that the folk of Devon would elect Widecombe as their talisman, because the place needs no introduction. It requires no PR or tourism spin.
The world-famous fair is enough to spark widespread recognition and capture imaginations far and wide.
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The event was first held in the 1850s. It gave rise to the well-known folk song Widecombe Fair – translated into many languages, and written out, nearly in full, to the right – which tells the story of Old Uncle Tom Cobley and his friends, who rode to the fair on Tom Pearce's grey mare.
Indeed, each year a villager dresses up as the legendary Tom Cobley and travels around on a horse to meet fairgoers. His appearance adds a nostalgic feel to the event which started as a simple market but has become a village institution, firmly fixed in its calendar as the biggest event of the year, taking over the village on the second Tuesday in September.
The earliest written record of the event was in 1850, when it was described in the Plymouth Gazette as "a cattle fair".
It soon became an opportunity to show and sell other livestock – particularly locally bred sheep and Dartmoor ponies, and by the 1920s it had also become a sports day for local schoolchildren.
In 1933, stalls were introduced, selling rural arts and crafts.
Widecombe Fair was suspended during the Second World War, but reinstated in 1945 with new attractions, including a gymkhana and tug of war.
All profits were donated to the 'Local Welcome Home Fund' for returning soldiers, sailors and airmen.
The only other time that the fair was cancelled was in 2001 because of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease.