Who would have thought a cheese could have a tumultuous history, and yet this is the case for the humble Wensleydale. Initially, cheese-making was brought to the area by French Cistercian Monks as early as 1150. However as Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, the tradition passed to farmers’ wives. The end of the 19th Century saw the heyday of the valley’s cheese making, with a creamery built in Hawes, beginning a glorious tradition. Unfortunately, during the Second World War, rationing brought the cheese industry to its knees, with most of the country’s milk being made into Government Cheddar. The industry was slow to recover.
Though you can buy Wensleydale cheese in your local supermarket, it will never be as good as the product straight from source. The Wensleydale Creamery has taken its heritage and is making this well-known product with such affection that it is elevated beyond what you would expect. They produce both white and blue Wensleydale, among other local cheeses, yoghurts and butter, all giving a fantastic insight into the history of the region.
The Wensleydale Creamery is also a visitor centre, offering interactive experiences with hands-on activities. It is a fun day all out for all the family while still being informative.