It’s a long and winding road up beautiful Danby Dale in the heart of the National Park to find Botton Village and its award-winning cheeses, but it’s well worth the journey.
Botton is part of the Camphill Village Trust (CVT) where adults with learning disabilities live and work together in a caring and nurturing environment. Besides two organic farms, a village store and a café, the community has a flourishing creamery where they make four fabulous cheeses from a small herd of Ayrshires and Dairy Shorthorns with their rich, yellow, creamy milk. The Creamery and farm work together to provide work experience for the Camphill community and provide an income for the charity.
The high-quality organic milk used by the Creamery is made into four raw milk, hard cheeses matured on site. They are: Dale End Cheddar, Moorland Tomme, Summerfields and Botton Gouda.
According to Andy Swinscoe, owner of the revered Courtyard Dairy in Settle and acclaimed expert, they are simply among the best in the country. ‘What’s not to like!’ enthuses Andy. ‘Made by hand, with raw milk, using traditional British breeds, on fabulously diverse pasture. Their organic nature adds a real depth of flavour to their cheese, it’s then matured with a natural rind, all within an enterprise which supports adults with learning disabilities. All those together mean if you don’t like their cheese you are going to hell!’
Andy describes Dale End Cheddar as a distinctive cheese with a tangy bite and rich, long-lasting flavour.’ The powerful Moorland Tomme is made to a French recipe but is firmer with a ‘nutty, slightly sweet flavour’. The Botton Gouda will dispel all thoughts of mass-produced Gouda – a supple, full-flavoured cheese while Summerfields Alpine, is a Gruyere-style cheese, using only the milk from cows that have grazed on summer pastures. Both Dale End and Summerfields have won gold at the World Cheese Awards.
In May 2022 Ruth Wells joined the Camphill Village Trust as Creamery Manager and lives and works in the Botton community. She grew up on a dairy farm in East Yorkshire before going on to study at Askham Bryan Agricultural College and the University of Hull. Well before it became part of her studies, she took an interest in cheesemaking, sparked by watching her mother making cheese in their farmhouse kitchen.