A celebration of cheese!
Saturday 10th September – Sunday 11th September 2022
Set in Sturminster Newton in the heart of the Blackmore Vale, the Cheese Festival was introduced to reflect the market town and the surrounding landscape’s heritage, showcasing award winning local produce.
The Blackmore Vale is split from the south by the Iron Age Hillforts of Hambledon and Hod Hill. Another ancient site, which sits high above Sturminster’s stone bridge, developed into a medieval castle, with crumbling remains still standing today.
The landscape was referred to as ‘The Vale of the Little Dairies’ by Thomas Hardy, as the valley slowly became filled with small farms, connected by little lanes. The introduction of the railway brought fresh demand, but trains were stopped by the Beeching axe in 1966, leaving an empty scar across the landscape.
Industry declined and development slowed, creating a quiet, hidden pocket of the Dorset countryside. Today small roads break into tracks, not suitable for modern vehicles, while the railway has now developed into the all accessible North Dorset Trailway.
The Cheese Festival unites the makers to the tasters, for both support and enjoyment. The small site fills up to nearly 100 exhibitors with a large collection of produce. A range of ciders and ales are available to help wash down all the nibbles and the craft and trade areas help work them off. There is also a range of options to keep the kids entertained. And, if it rains, the marquees provide safe cover!
Explore Colber Bridge, William Barnes childhood home, Cutt Mill and the River Stour on The Swan Walk
Discover the castle, Piddles Wood, Fiddleford Manor and the Trailway on The Bull Walk