Hippie convoy takes to the road again

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FROM the top of Yew Tree Hill, a spread of a dozen acres 10 miles from Newtown, Powys, the view was terrific. But most of the New Age travellers winding down from a weekend of music and dance looked too tired to take it in.

A sizeable police presence monitored vehicles moving away after the 24-hour party. Today, the police are expected to serve notice under the Public Order Act to remove any of the remaining hippies. By mid-afternoon yesterday, around 1,000 of the original 4,000 revellers were left contemplating problems like finding fuel for their battered vehicles.

Diana has been on the road for five years in a converted motorised horse box. 'It's peaceful travelling in Britain,' she sighed. That is not a sentiment everyone who rubs up against the travellers would agree with. But then Diana, 27, spent her youth in Northern Ireland.

A pair of RAF jets screamed overhead. 'Pity they don't spend a bit of that cash on getting us travellers a place where we can live the way we want to,' Carl said, jerking a thumb skywards.

Arthur Mixwell was evicted from his bedsit three years ago. 'There's less hassle on the road,' he ventured, bearing in mind the 10am deadline for the travellers to quit farmer Stanley Pugh's land. Two miles away in of Kerry two travellers cashed their Giros and bought potatoes and bread. That would make a change from the vegan stew sold at pounds 1-a-plate at the festival.

The chief source of friction was the presence of 'ravers'. Most had decamped yesterday but three polished cars remained, their occupants asleep. 'They'll soon be back in their nice little houses,' a passer-by predicted.