ONE of the most beautiful parts of the northern countryside is set to capitalise on its reputation for producing cheese.

National Park bosses in the Yorkshire Dales are planning to turn a Cheese Festival into an annual event.

It follows the success of its first festival, which brought hundreds of people into the Dales, many for the first time.

As a result, the National Park authority and local businesses are already planning a bigger and better festival next year.

There were dozens of events across the Dales with the Wensleydale Creamery and other producers at the heart of the celebrations.

Chief organiser, Helen Dalton, destination organiser for the National Park, said: “The feedback we’ve had suggests the festival was good for business, as it brought in people who’d not been to the Dales before, from the North-East, Cheshire and West and South Yorkshire, and lots of local people coming too.

“The festival came about because we won European funding, related to food, to help bring tourists into the area.

“Cheese is one of the things we are really good at producing in the Dales.

“We also make amazing food and drink that complements the cheese, particularly chutneys and ale.

“We want to put on an even better festival next year because visitors constantly tell us that they’d like more opportunities to find out about and enjoy locally produced food and drink.

“The great thing was that we were able to showcase the Dales’ stunning landscapes as well as shout about the cheese ,” added Ms Dalton.

Next year’s festival will be held between September 15 and 22.

Cheese-making was originally started in the Yorkshire Dales by the Cistercian monks who brought their skills over from Normandy in the 11th century.

It has been part of rural life and agriculture in the area ever since.