AWARD-winning cheese business The Courtyard Dairy in Austwick run by husband and wife team Andy and Kathy Swinscoe has been granted planning permission to extend its specialist cheese-maturing cellars.

The new extension will encompass a larger cheese-orientated museum and extended retail shop, together with a brand-new area for events and catering and a big underground cheese-maturing cellar; all enhanced by stunning views towards Ingleborough.

“The plan is to become the epicentre of traditional farm-made British cheese,” said Kathy.“We’re naturally proud of what we’ve achieved over the last ten years, especially because what was just a husband and wife operation now employs 20 people and continues to provide essential support to farm cheese-makers and assists others to set up making cheese from scratch.

“The effect of the pandemic forced us to refocus our business and although mail-order and sales through our website remain essential to the survival of the business, it made us realise that what we loved most was the experience of serving the customers in the shop and introducing them to less-common genuine farm-made cheeses. So we decided that the next stage of expansion should see us really concentrate on this, creating a unique and very special location that truly celebrates raw-milk traditional cheese.”

The extension will the Swinscoe’s to build on their success and allow them further to support the other businesses on site, including ice-cream maker Bouncing Cows and budding cheese-maker Long Churn, which makes sheep milk cheese using milk from their sheep grazing on The Courtyard Dairy fields.

“Kathy and I really appreciate being part of the vibrant community,” said Andy. “I am really pleased the local planning authority recognised the positive impact we’ve had on the area: providing jobs, nurturing other small and new business and helping to keep traditional cheese-making alive. This expansion will allow us to create a very special site focused around telling the story of ‘proper’ cheese.”