The Gloucestershire pub and cheesemaker who play their part in Cheese Rolling down Cooper's Hill

Shaun and Mary Tippins own the Cheese Rollers just off the A46 near Cheltenham
-Credit: (Image: Will Luker)


When you think of names of pubs in Gloucestershire there are so many that have a proud identity but across the county there is one that really fits the bill for a mad tradition that takes place this Bank Holiday.

The Cheese Rollers pub based just off the A46 south of Cheltenham at Shurdington is the perfect place to be for the annual Cheese Rolling extravaganza that will see some very brave soles tumble down Cooper's Hill.

Chasing a cheese down the steep summit with a few broken bones is exactly what the competitors do where the Double Gloucester is made by a Gloucestershire cheesemaker.

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There's tradition on show here, where Rod Smart of Smarts Traditional Gloucester Cheeses based at Churcham is a family run farm that make the very cheese you will see heading down the hill at lightning speed. Weighing about three and a half kilos, it was Diana Smart who took up cheese making at Smart's but not until her 60s. After sadly passing away in 2021 today her son Rod and the rest of the family carry on the good work.

Making the cheese for the event for over 40 years, Rod said: "It is something we inherited and I think mother would still be very proud to be a nice small part of something truly Gloucestershire. While it is not the core part of what we do here it is important to be part of a Gloucestershire tradition that has become very big in lots of ways!"

Rod Smart
Rod Smart -Credit:Will Luker

One thing that has happened before at Cheese Rolling has been Smarts even selling their cheese on Green Lane just below Cooper's Hill and for Rod tradition is important. Injuries do happen as Rod says and "you get people carrying others on their shoulders after some broken bones and all over the world people meet someone they may never have met before. Cheese Rolling is something that we do when we're young and silly and it's always a Double Gloucester because they're really good strong cheeses."

The very cheese Smarts make every year for the event have become a proud indoor feature at the Cheese Rollers Pub, which is run by landlords Shaun and Mary Tippins. Doing the job now since January 2023, this will be their second Cheese Rolling experience as a moment in the year when they offer excellent hospitality to tourists.

Having visitors already in the pub garden at 9am on time during the Bank Holiday weekend last year, both Shaun and Mary describe it as "crazy" for the pub which only changed its name to Cheese Rollers in the 1970s. Always wanting to run their own pub after vast previous experience in the industry, this is a big weekend for the pub because "this is an amazing boost for us. We've had Americans, Mexicans, Canadians, Japanese and Australians here and some do get lost!"

The Cheese Rollers pub at Shurdington
The Cheese Rollers pub at Shurdington -Credit:Will Luker

The beauty of a pub with an identity of Cheese Rolling does mean a little luck but "no question this weekend is going to be busy, Shaun and Mary said. So many people will be here to experience a good pub and we've never seen so many cameras! We get people stopping on the main road taking pictures and getting their picture taken with the pub, it's madness."

A reminder that Cheese Rolling takes place on Monday May 27.