From the Gloucestershire Echo
TREKKING the roads and byways of England, Craig Solar is not your typical Gypsy or Traveller.
With his old-fashioned horse-drawn wagon, the 34-year-old sees himself closer to eco-warriors, such as Swampy, than the stars of programmes like My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.
Pitching up on the side of a road near Gotherington for the Easter weekend, he admitted he lived a lifestyle not unlike a man from another time.
Travelling mainly around the west country in his wagon, Craig was keen to let people know there was a good side to his way of life.
And he insisted he did not cause any trouble.
"We are more like a green living protest rather than anything else," he said.
"We often leave a place tidier than we found it.
"The horses actually graze on the road side and uncover all the litter, like crisp packets and tins, and we pick that up and take it to the recycling centre.
"Because we are not motorised, we don't really have any rubbish to leave."
Craig travels with friends in his wagon, but needs to stop regularly as the horses require a rest every 10 to 15 miles.
He said: "We normally only stop overnight.
"It is just because the horses need to be constantly moved to graze."
A friend makes recycled furniture out of bits of wood found in the hedgerow and this is sold wherever they stop.
Craig said that, despite his unusual lifestyle, most people were happy to see him.
"Nearly everybody who stops to see us is happy and we have a joke with them," he said.
"You get the occasional driver who will shout abuse as they go past, but most people find we put smiles on their faces and the children are always interested to see us and how we live."
Under English law, Travellers cannot stop anywhere without the landowner's permission.
If a person stops in a lay-by or highway, such as a grass verge, the local authority can ask them to move on.
But David Hearn, chairman of Gotherington parish council, said he was happy for Craig to stop at the spot.
He said: "Personally, I don't have a problem with him being there.
"He is keeping to himself and isn't creating a nuisance.
"It's part of England's heritage which we should be preserving."
Earlier this year, Shire Hall washed its hands of Travellers and Gypsy sites across Gloucestershire after admitting it could not afford to run them anymore.
The county council handed four sites to new owners.
They include Elmstone Hardwicke with 19 plots, Showborough in Twyning, with 10 plots and Culkerton, near Tetbury.