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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!

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.”




If you’d like to take part in this years Gold Hill Cheese Race join us at the Shaftesbury Food and Drink Festival on 8th May 2022 and visit our partners from Fitness by Design at the top of Gold Hill. Registration is open from 10 am in the Town Hall, where you can sign up and receive your race numbers. Heats commence at 1pm with the Finals at 3pm. 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.


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


10 to 16 2022 Champion Rares Nicoara

Our Great Gold Hill Cheese Race Supporters:

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.


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 manufacturing, catering, food service and contract manufacturing industries. With roots firmly in Dorset, BV Dairy’s values are based on respect, improvement, progression and sustainability.

Established in 1958, the company received several prestigious awards in 2018 including the Dorset Chamber of Commerce ‘Business of the Year’ and ‘Investing in Dorset’ Awards and the Blackmore Vale Media overall ‘Business of the Year’, ‘Large Business of the Year’ and ‘Best Place to Work’ awards.

BV Dairy sources the majority of its milk from Red Tractor accredited farms from within a 25-mile radius of its base in Shaftesbury. Many of these farms are located on the rich pastures of the Blackmore Vale and the Farm Liaison Team build strong, lasting relationships with the Farmers and help in maintaining their herds of happy, healthy dairy cattle.

BV Dairy maintains the highest standards and recognises the importance of applying advanced process technology alongside a knowledgeable background of traditional techniques. Pride is taken in their state-of-the-art facilities and new production equipment, such as the addition of a new bottling line. The environment is also important and everything is done to minimise the production plant’s impact on the local area. Innovation is provided by a dedicated development team who work with customers to provide the best solutions for their needs and the wide range of products produced include:

Soft Cheeses, Crème Fraiche, Buttermilk, Award-winning Dorset Clotted Cream, Fromage Frais, Yogurts including Greek Style, Soured Cream, Mascarpone and cultured milk and yogurt drinks.