Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling – Gloucestershire, England - Atlas Obscura
Our new kids' book is on sale! Shop now.

Gloucestershire, England

Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling

Every year locals tumble 650 feet down to the bottom of the hill chasing a Double Gloucester cheese. 

The Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling competition takes its name from the hill outside of Gloucester, England, where it is held each spring. The rules are simple. A 9-pound, round Double Gloucester cheese is rolled down the hill given a one-second head start to the players who chase it down the hill.

The first one to make it to the bottom and across the finishing line wins the cheese. In theory, it’s the one who catches the cheese that wins it, but given that it can reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour, the chances of actually catching it are slim.

Up until 2009, the Cheese-Rolling was an official event. But it was called off over concerns for the safety of the spectators. This, however, hasn’t stopped the locals from continuing the tradition. The concerns are not without reason and contestants being hospitalized are not unheard of.

In fact, Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling has been called the world’s most dangerous footrace and described as “twenty young men chasing a cheese off a cliff and tumbling 200 yards to the bottom, where they are scraped up by paramedics and packed off to hospital.”

Regardless of the risks involved and the pressure from local council to address them, Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling keeps coming back every year. As a safety precaution, the cheese was replaced by a foam replica in 2013. 

What started as a competition for the villagers of Brockworth has grown, and today people from all over the world participate in the cheese race.

Know Before You Go

The annual event is held on the Spring Bank Holiday at Cooper's Hill in Brockworth, near Gloucester.