Fancy taking a daring dash down a steep hill this bank holiday weekend? Why, you ask? To chase a large round lump of traditional Gloucester cheese, of course!
Cheese Rolling has been taking place at Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire since the 1800s, and still attracts a crowd of crazy cheese rolling fans to the hill every May.
This year’s event will take place on the bank holiday, Monday 27th May. Anyone can take part in the contest, but entrants are responsible for their own safety: enter at your own risk! Anyone considering taking part should be aware that this unusual sport has caused broken bones and other injuries over the years, so if you are thinking of taking part do bear this in mind.
Traditionally, there are five different races down the hill but each begin with a round Double Gloucester cheese being hurled down the hill, followed by the competitors who attempt to catch the cheese. No one ever manages to capture the rolling cheese as it hurtles down the hill, but the winner is usually the person to reach the bottom first. Due to the steepness of the hill, competitors are frequently seen tumbling head over heels as they attempt to reach the cheese.
This year’s races begin at 12pm with the Man’s Downhill Race, this will be followed throughout the afternoon by the Children’s Uphill Race, Woman’s Downhill Race, and the Mixed Adult’s Uphill Race.
The brave (or crazy) winners receive a Double Gloucester cheese as their prize. The cheese used for the event is usually a 7-9lb round of Double Gloucester, protected in wooden casing and decorated with red and blue ribbons. This year’s cheese comes courtesy of traditional cheese maker Smart’s in Churcham.
No one is exactly sure of the origins of this unusual event, but theories range from it being a pagan custom, to a way of protecting grazing rights on the common.
You can get a flavour of this mad cap tradition by watching a video of falling competitors from last year’s event.
When: 27th May 2019, from 10am (first race at 12pm)
Where: Cooper’s Hill, Brockworth, near Gloucester, Gloucestershire