For ever on the road – John Treagood


As I drove home yesterday I saw John’s Wagon on the roundabout outside Exeter.  His camp was looking untidy and he was no where to be seen, nor his horse, Gildor.  I have spotted John and his raggle taggle band around the place in Devon for years.  I was wondering what was up and when I read this story in the Express and Echo it made me wonder how he was going to adapt to life with a new horse or whether, now, he would have to think of parking up somewhere.

TRAVELLING man John Treagood has been left stranded on an Exeter roundabout following the death of his faithful horse Gildor. The even tempered, Irish cob horse, which for the past 18 years has happily hauled Mr Treegood and his small wagon home around Devon, died earlier this week. A bereft Mr Treagood, 79, said: “I am not sure what I am going to do now. I can’t really talk about it. “Gildor was a good friend to me and wonderful horse. “I shall just stay put and not think about what I am going to do for a few days. It is all a bit of a shock. “I have some friends who might be able to help but I shall wait and see. It’s too soon to talk about that sort of thing.” Mr Treagood, who is now camped on a roundabout just outside Alphington, said Gildor was 28 years old and he had owned him for the past 18 years. “He started to lose weight recently and it turned out his kidneys had given up. “I couldn’t stand to see him suffer I had a responsibility not to do that so he had to be put down. “The good people from the World Horse Welfare charity came along and he was put down round the corner, quietly and peacefully.” Mr Treagood has two other constant companions, his dogs Hale and Whisky. Often he would travel the area, “depending on which way my horse goes.”Gildor was able to see white road lines recognise traffic lights, stopping on red.Mr Treagood said:“The only thing that freaked him a bit was the sound of a braying donkey, which isn’t too surprising.”On ‘moving days’, the caravan could travel up to 30 miles a day along Devon’s roads, Mr Treagood walking. Gildor was happy to pull the wagon, but he would not be ridden because he liked to be able to see his owner.Mr Treagood, who was born in Kent, he never knew his mother and was raised by his grandfather until he decided to run away from home when he was 16.He joined the Army and left after six after with a lump sum of money after being blinded in one eye, and used it to get an education.He has a BA in medieval history and a PhD in environmental studies. He became a freelance lecturer and then one day picked up his backpack and went for a walk, and hasn’t stopped travelling since. Eventually John swapped his backpack for a wagon and a horse, and the little money he needs to get by is earned by doing odd jobs. He does not collect a pension, but does tree pruning, gardening and odd jobs taking what is offered in payment. Read more: