The Yorkshire Dales National Park’s first Cheese Festival is gearing up to be a cracker, with more than 20 different events and ways for visitors to revel in locally-produced cheese as well as savour the delights of the region’s food.
Among a host of sampling, making and cookery demonstrations, visitors to the Festival, which kicks off on Saturday 23 September at The Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes, can also combine tastings with walking, cycling, climbing or canoeing their way round the Dales and Nidderdale during a week-long programme of events.
For instance cyclists can join a 50-mile ‘Meet the Makers’ jaunt through the country lanes from Wensleydale to Jervaulx Abbey near Ripon, before returning through Coverdale eating up the miles with a number of sampling stops along the way.
Meanwhile walkers can stride out on one of the milk and cheese guided walks, combining visits to The Wensleydale Creamery, farms and the Dales Countryside Museum to glean more about the rich dairy heritage.
Runners can sign up to the four-mile off road Truckle Run at Askrigg Camping or take on the Yorkshire Dales Team Building’s challenge of climbing at Twistleton Scar near Hawes in the morning, before spending an afternoon canoeing on Semerwater, interspersed with a ploughman’s cheese picnic lunch.
Food lovers can sample an array of locally-produced cheese, bread, oatcakes, meat, foraged food and preserves throughout the Festival week while restaurants, farm shops and cafés from Malham to Sedbergh, Hawes to Ripon pull out the stops to lay on wine and cheese parties and special celebratory dining menus. The week culminates with a celebration of local game at Bolton Castle in Wensleydale on Saturday 30 September.
Kids can get in on the action too with visits to the new Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese Experience or getting creative with craft activities such as making a cheese label at the Festival. They can also spend a day in the woods at the Aysgarth Falls Visitor Centre, listening to stories while eating cheese and foraged woodland goodies sitting around a campfire.
The initial Cheese Festival will run from 10am-5pm on 23 and 24 September at The Wensleydale Creamery, with various further cheese and other food events happening around the National Park until 30 September. It will be free to attend, but some charges will be made to participate in certain activities which will be bookable in advance. For the full programme and booking details go to www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/visit-the-dales/cheese-festival-17