BENTHAM Pottery is experiencing something of a moment. After 40 years of plugging away quietly, it is suddenly in huge demand. And the reason? The massive success of the Great Pottery Throw Down.

The show, which was won by Giggleswick potter Matthew Wilcock after several, testing knockout rounds, proved a massive hit, sparking off renewed interest in potting.

Before the BBC2 television series hit the screens towards the end of last year, Bentham Pottery's website had around 20 curious visitors a day, that rocketed to 500 a day, and the interest shows no sign of abating.

Then there's the pottery lesson vouchers - a bit of an after thought by joint owner, Lee Cartledge, which before Christmas were going like hot cakes.

"It was outstanding, we used to get about 20 hits a day on the website and right after the first show went out, it went up to 500 plus, and it's stayed at that ever since," he said.

Lee says he enjoyed the programme very much and was impressed that it had set some tough challenges for the potters.

"I'm not surprised it turned out to be so popular and I'm glad that we happened to be in the right place at the right time," he said.

Lee runs the craft centre with his mother, Kathy, who started it 40 years ago after being inspired by the pottery wheel 'interlude' on the BBC, which was shown to fill the space between programmes.

The centre is based at Oysterber Farm, Burton Road, where they also have a number of holiday cottages, where budding potters, from far and wide, including from overseas, stay over as part of their pottery holiday.

There is a shop where Lee and Kathy sell a range of ceramics, including best selling mugs with Dales sheep on them, serving dishes, kitchen tidies, and oven proof tureens.

Much of what is on sale is in a distinctive blue - a range for which the pottery has become well known.

They supply a number of shops in the area and carry out commissions, including one, some years ago, to provide 5,000 bowls to commemorate a papal visit to Manchester and Liverpool. They have also carried out other commissions to produce mugs commemorating races.

And then there's the workshop, where Lee and Kathy spend a great deal of their time either making things to sell, or leading pottery classes.

Lee, who has a degree in three-dimensional design, heads courses elsewhere, including at Craven College in Skipton, and in addition to standard pottery courses, does special group events, including birthday parties and hen parties.

Those who choose to book a hen party at the centre however, are more restrained, although groups have been known to come along with a bottle of wine.

With half-day courses, there is not long enough for people to see what they make fully completed, so drying and firing takes place later - but the results of their labours are there to be collected later.

Lee has uploaded onto his site a number of pottery 'blogs' including videos showing him making mugs and demonstrating throwing, coiling and slabbing.

To find out more, go to the website