Gold Hill Cheese Race

TurnbullsLOGOsnip-300x75“The Gold Hill Cheese Run is a tribute to a millennia of cheese making in the Blackmore Vale, with “slightly mad” participants racing with the locally-made cheeses which are 35cm (14″) in diameter.
Each one takes up to 500 pints of milk to make – that’s a lot of effort from a lot of cows. But they are not very convenient to carry up a hill.

Enjoy the fun.  Enjoy the cheese!

Charlie Turnbull

The races are split into the following categories:

Kids Under 10

Kids Under 16

Mens Singles

Ladies Singles

Teams Mens

Teams Ladies

Teams Mixed

Teams Mixed Veterans



If you’d like to take part in next years Gold Hill Cheese Race join us at the Shaftesbury Food and Drink Festival on 13th May 2018 and visit our partners from Fitness by Design at the top of Gold Hill. There are races for individuals as well as a team event for four participants. Why not put your company on the map and come along as a team.


It all started with a cracker of an idea by Charlie Turnbull… as Jonishna Levi explained in  ‘Culture’ cheese magazine:

“It’s just a theory, but it seems to me that ’80s British songstress Kate Bush might have been talking about more than the complexity of gender relations when she wrote the 1985 hit single “Running up That Hill.” I’m thinking she unwittingly penned an anthem for the Gold Hill Cheese Run of Shaftesbury, England.

What exactly is the Gold Hill Cheese Run? While the good people of Gloucestershire opt to throw themselves down Cooper’s Hill in pursuit of Double Gloucester Cheese, participants of the Gold Hill Cheese Run scramble up a treacherously steep and cobbled street hefting 14” diameter truckles of local cheese weighing 45-55 lbs. Yeah, umm… this would be a spectator sport for me, thanks.

While this hilarious video—set to Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding on For a Hero” (competition Kate?) makes this looks like a testosterone fest…

After a quick double take, and then a brief spell wondering if children from Dorset are just genetically hardy beasts, I discovered that the young ’uns are, in fact, carrying fake wheels made out of polystyrene.

How did this insane tradition start? It is just one of the events comprising the Shaftesbury Food & Drink Festival, which celebrates Dorset’s local cuisine with chef demos, live music, and street entertainment. The Gold Hill Run was added in 2012 – the brain child of cheesemonger and perpetual bowler-wearer Charlie Turnbull of Turnbulls, a combination cheese-shop/coffee-house/bistro. (He’s running in the video with, yep, his bowler and the “Trust Me, I’m a Cheesemonger” T-shirt.)

Turnbull got the idea for an uphill scramble from local lore about medieval cheesemakers, brewers, millers, and butchers racing to get their goods to the Abbey gates first so that they would be chosen by the Abbess for her High Table, thereby fetching the best price. Local cheese makers such as Westcombe Cheddar (which produces a hand-crafted “five mile” cheddar with notes of citrus, hazelnut, and caramel) and Quickes Cheddar (which ages its traditional, muslin-wrapped cheddars from 3 to 24 months) have supplied cheese for the race. First participants must lug the truckles down the hill to the start line, then they have to run like the devil, either clutching them to their chests or awkwardly out to one side. The winner gets a cheese prize as well as a crown.”

Our Great Gold Hill Cheese Race Supporters:

“Founded in 1984 by Gin & Geoff Hayward, inspired by the receipt of a disappointing hamper one Christmas, we have grown into one of the most highly trusted and respected companies in the luxury food and wine industry.

Today we remain a family run and managed business working alongside our 65 loyal and inspirational permanent members of staff. They make it possible to achieve our objective which is to source and supply high quality, beautifully presented luxury food hampers that are reliably delivered in a timely manner and supported by impeccable levels of customer service.

Based in the heart of the beautiful Dorset countryside we operate from over 200,000 square feet of modern warehousing and offices. We continue to grow to meet our customer needs, whilst trying to remain true to our original aim of delivering exceptional products and service at competitive prices in a professional but informal environment.”


Fitness by design ltd, established in 2001, is North Dorset’s premier fitness facility. We are a very different  health and fitness club as the vast majority of our members are personally taught in small fitness groups of 3-4 people twice a week which we call fitness 45.

This is a unique system of training designed by us to ensure that members train properly and are never left on their own, in 45 minute sessions with a personal trainer who will teach each person individually, tailoring a programme that is appropriate to your fitness levels, medical conditions and your goals. It never gets boring as each time we do something slightly different. We set up all of your exercises, coach you and even help you stretch at the end. It’s very motivating and lots of fun too.

Members results have more than doubled!

We also have the best performance free weights gym for any younger members who love their free weights.

Upstairs we have a separate ladies only club called our toning suite. This is aimed at our more mature ladies who may have health and mobility problems. All members are individually taught on our eight toning beds which gently stretch and strengthen your muscles. Results have been amazing with our ladies losing up to four dress sizes. For those who don’t do the gym this is a perfect alternative.

For anyone who is interested please call 01747 835180 to book your FREE guest visit without any obligation or come and meet us by the town hall at the festival for more information.

It’s never too late to improve your health. We train people in their 90’s.



Our deli serves the best cheese for miles, where we showcase the pick of local classics such as Montgomery and Dorset Blue Vinny, plus the finest examples of the European Greats.  We stock cheeses so good, so extraordinary and perfectly matured, you’ll taste the difference in every mouthful.

Turnbulls Bistro serves seasonal home made lunches with many dishes under £10, made here by us with carefully sourced local ingredients. And our coffee, well, it’s Great Taste Award winning, and our hot chocolate special is renowned in playgrounds from Bath to the Jurassic Coast.

We are the big old fashioned yellow double fronted shop on the High Street.  And we’re now ONLINE TOO with our own DeliShop. Come and find us at 9 High Street!


Established in 1958 and located in Shaftesbury, Dorset, BV Dairy is the home of award winning Dorset Clotted Cream and a widely respected independent manufacturer of consistently top quality dairy products for the food service and manufacturing industries throughout the UK. As one of the largest independent dairies in the South West BV Dairy is a key player in the industry nationally.

The Dairy occupies a modern and well equipped production facility where it maintains the highest standards and recognises the importance of applying modern, advanced process technology alongside a knowledgeable background of traditional techniques.

Milk is sourced from Red Tractor accredited farms within a 25 mile radius and the Team at BV Dairy believes in forging strong relationships with its Farmers and works with them to insure a good supply of excellent quality milk from healthy, happy cows.