Plans for Yorkshire Dales cheese festival unveiled

Bishopdale, a cheddar-type cheese produced by the Wensleydale Creamery. Photo: Stephen Garnett

A new weekend festival will celebrate the rich cheese-making heritage of the Yorkshire Dales as well as shine the spotlight on the array of local cheeses that visitors can now enjoy.

The Cheese Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday 23-24 September at The Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes and will see numerous producers and connoisseurs from across the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty offering product tastings as well as staging cookery, cheese-making, grading and drink-pairing demonstrations.

Today’s burgeoning cheese scene across the Dales is thanks in part to the Cistercian monks who brought their fromage-making skills over from Normandy when they settled at abbeys such as Jervaulx and Fountains back in the 11th century, and started making Wensleydale cheese.

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Now the iconic Yorkshire Wensleydale has been joined by a range of Yorkshire Dales delights such as Cotherdale, Swaledale, Ribblesdale, Yorkshire Blue and Fine Fettle cheeses, and the food’s success has spawned a whole side-industry with preserves, chutneys and accessories all being created within the National Park.

In honour of this, the festival will also stage several guided walking and cycling tours enabling visitors to explore the picturesque countryside, trace the importance of the monks’ contribution and the evolution of cheese-making and dairying across the region, tasting local specialities as they go.

The festival will then lead into a further five days of  events right across the Yorkshire Dales with restaurants, cafés, farms and attractions championing the fantastic range of food that is produced on the doorstep.

Helen Dalton, destination co-ordinator for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority commented: “The Dales has a huge range of talented food and drink producers and an amazing selection of places serving great dishes where Yorkshire ingredients are the stars.

“With more than 40 different cheeses being produced within the Yorkshire Dales , often with centuries-old recipes handed down through the generations, the Festival will highlight the great stories as well as the passion of our producers to make great-tasting cheeses that are really making their mark in the culinary world.”

The Festival will run from 10am-5pm on both 23 and 24 September. It will be free to attend but a small charge will be made to participate in certain activities which will be bookable in advance. Further information and booking details will be available in due course on