HEAVY rain and muddy conditions caused delays for hundreds trying to access the site of the Great Dorset Steam Fair.

Many people - either exhibitors or pre-booked campers - who were delayed trying to access the site on Tuesday chose to sleep in their vehicles overnight.

But event organisers said they had numerous tractors and off-road vehicles assisting visitors and the showground itself was unaffected.

Beth Ansell, PR manager, said: "It did take a bit longer to get people onto the site but we have cleared the backlog this morning.

"Anyone who slept in their vehicles overnight did so out of choice rather than come back this morning.

"At any one time we had 20 tractors and 4x4 vehicles in operation and another 20 to 30 on standby.

"We are incredibly grateful to everybody for being so patient and co-operative."

It is the second year running that heavy rain has caused disruption at the event.



The fiar starts today and runs until Sunday. 

A host of attractions are set to form a First World War commemorative exhibit. The WWI special display will be divided into three main areas - the 'Western Front', the 'Home Front' and an exhibition marquee being shared with the National Traction Engine Trust, organisers say.

Steam fair managing director Martin Oliver said: “With 2014 marking one hundred years since the outbreak of The Great War, it is fitting that the Great Dorset Steam Fair marks this special anniversary with our own tribute display.”

Exhibits at the Tarrant Hinton site will include the Horse Remount Depot, The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment Living History Group, steam engines, tractors, field guns, a tank, heavy artillery and other historic vehicles.

The Horse Remount Depot group tells the story of how horses and mules made it to the Western Front, and what their lives were like.

Prior to arriving at the steam fair site, nine of these horses will have been ridden along what was part of the Western Front, from Nieuwpoort on the Belgian coast through Ypres and into Mons.

They will also be ridden across historic battlefields such as Passchendaele and the Somme.

Mr Oliver said: “Our WWI display has been carefully and sensitively compiled and we hope that you will find it to be interesting and informative, but most of all in honour and memory of all those who served their country in the 1914-1918 conflict, millions making the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.”

There will also be a WWI women's land army display and a display from a charity building a new steam memorial engine called 'The Unknown Warrior.'