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New cheeses, new venues and new ways of getting cheesy as part of the Yorkshire Dales Cheese Festival

Andy Swinscoe

[V]isitors can expect new cheeses to taste during this September’s Yorkshire Dales Cheese Festival as well as enjoying cheesy-themed events at many venues that are getting involved for the first time.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park has finalised the week-long programme which runs from 15-23 September and includes a celebration of the county’s fine local food. Visitors can go on a veritable cheese pilgrimage during the week, starting with the two-day mini Festival at the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes and then dropping in at various venues including several new ones right across both the Yorkshire Dales and Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

New events and venues include Yorkshire cheese tasting sessions at The Churchmouse at Barbon and an open day at Low Borrowbridge Farm near Tebay where visitors can have special access to a Roman fort on the farm and learn more about a planned archaeological excavation this autumn.

Expert cheesemonger Andy Swinscoe from the Courtyard Dairy near Settle will be sharing how farmhouse cheeses are being revived across the Dales drawing on recipes that hark back to the 1930s, while visitors can also learn more about Wensleydale’s dairying heritage from researchers working on the Dairy Days project.

The newly opened boutique hotel the Black Bull at Sedbergh will also be laying on a special six-course tasting menu where Yorkshire Dales produce will play a starring role.

Those wanting to work up an appetite first can choose from the Westmorland Wedge event, a two-day cycling odyssey through the beautiful Northern Dales from Askrigg to Kirkby Stephen; a six-mile cheesey trail run at Askrigg; or guided walks where visitors can enjoy a scenic stroll in the company of volunteers full-to-brim with local dairying knowledge.

While many of the events are family-friendly, two new events are aimed particularly at youngsters – a cheese-themed Forest School for kids at Aysgarth on September 20 and the Cheesy 2 Dales off-road children’s bike ride starting off from Hawes on September 22.

Helen Dalton, destination co-ordinator for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority commented: “It’s great to see so many new venues participating in the Festival and flying the flag for our fantastic cheeses and other local produce that are such an important part of the experience for people when they visit our protected landscapes.”

More information including the booking details for individual events on www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/cheese-festival.

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