Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling Festival – the Cotswolds
Would you like to win a round of Double Gloucester cheese? Do you have what it takes to win this cheese? Are you prepared to risk a few broken bones, sprained ankles or concussion to win this prize? If your answer is Yes to all the questions, then Cooper’s Hill is where you’d want to be.
Yes, every year the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling Festival has been taking place on the Spring Bank Holiday Monday in May. It’s believed that this tradition dates back to Roman times, but who knows as there is no real evidence to verify this.
Initially the festival was an event by and for the folks of the local village of Brockworth, but now people from all over the world come here to participate.
How does Cheese Rolling work? From the top of the Cooper’s Hill a round of Double Gloucester cheese is given a rolling start, and then competitors race down the hill after it. In theory, participants are supposed to run down the hill to catch the wheel of cheese and the first person across the finish line at the base of the hill wins it. But what are the chances of anyone catching the cheese when it has a head-start and is hurtling down the slopes at about 112 km per hour. Anyone in its way would most certainly be run over and according to reports there have been incidents of spectators being knocked down.
I haven’t been to Cooper’s Hill, but Almis, who is soon to join us with his walking holiday advice, has trekked to the top and he can certainly attest to its steepness! The hill’s uneven surface is another cause of the injuries each year, ranging from sprained ankles to broken bones and even concussions. Just in case anyone’s wondering how they would drive home on their own with their broken bones, the event organizers have graciously arranged for St. John’s Ambulance to be in attendance as well as a volunteer rescue team to pick up casualties from the hill.
The fun event is run totally by volunteers and entry is free. There is a £5 parking fee and this helps to fund the event. You don’t have to pre-register. Just hike up to the top of the hill and if don’t get the wobbles, then you’re in the race! The first to finish wins the 7-8lb. wheel of Double Gloucester, second prize is £10 and third is £5. This may not be enough to pay for your petrol or getting stitched up, but hey, it’s the prestige of being on record as the winner.
How to get to Cooper’s Hill?
By car – if driving from Gloucester city centre, take the A417 to Brockworth – signposted Brockworth or Cirencester, Cooper’s Hill which is about 6.5 km away is signposted locally.
By bus – take bus 10 from Gloucester to Cheltenham via Brockworth, or bus 46 from Stroud to Cheltenham via Brockworth.
Gloucestershire, and the wider Cotswolds, has some great food related events and the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling Festival is just one of them.