Spring is a great time for outdoor events and one of Britain’s strangest is the annual Cheese Rolling that takes place at various locations around the country. Cheese Rolling has come up against some hot press in recent years as it’s been dubbed a dangerous sport and locals have had to battle to keep it going. If you are interested in the sport, you’ll find rebel cheese rollers who still take to the hills and streets to send cheeses flying during May.
1. Coopers Hill Cheese Rolling Festival
At midday on Monday the 26th of May the annual Cheese Rolling Festival will be taking place on Coopers Hill in Gloucestershire. Traditionally Diane Smart’s Double Gloucester Cheeses have been used in the competition but in recent years the media have tried to warn against use of the cheese because of its dangerous size and weight and its likelihood of causing injury. However, more dangerous cheeses have been used in the past, such as the Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano. The average Italian full cheese weighs in at a whopping 38kg! During the competition a cheese is rolled down the hill and the competitors race behind it, trying to catch up. The cheese can reach up to 70km an hour and has around a 1 second head start, so running after it is quite a sprint. Last year foam cheeses were used as a replacement which is a safer way of keeping the tradition going. It isn’t the first time that a replacement cheese has been used. During the war wooden cheeses were used to keep the cheese rolling alive.
After the cheese rolling event itself why not visit one of the cheese rollers pubs in the nearby village of Shurdington, about 3 miles from Coopers Hill? Staying at a Travelodge in Gloucester is a good option for tired legs after the race.
2. Stilton Cheese Rolling
Blue cheese lovers will relish a trip to the village of Stilton and their cheese rolling event during their annual May day festivities. The Stilton cheese rolling differs slightly from Coopers Hill as competitors work in teams of four. Traditionally a wooden cheese is used in the game and the team members have the job of steering their cheese through the town. Each team member must take control of the cheese at least once. Instead of just one race the Stilton cheese rolling has a quarter, semi and grand final. During the May day celebrations there will also be live music, a fairground, dancing and delicious food and drink.
3. Randick Cheese Rolling
A trip to a Travelodge in the Cotswolds is perfect for May and the Randick Cheese Rolling takes place on the first Sunday of May, this year on the 4th. The Randick Cheese Rollers also use three double Gloucester cheeses, which are blessed and then rolled anti clockwise around the church. This action is supposed to ward off evil spirits. After the event, which takes place at 10.30 am, the first cheese is cut up and shared amongst the villagers. The cheese is meant to boost fertility and happiness. The other two cheeses are saved for the following Saturday when they are used in another cheese rolling event at Well Leaze. The event, named the Randick Wap, is a colourful day of singing, dancing and British tradition. A great spring day out.