AWARD winning cheese shop, The Courtyard Dairy, is looking forward to the New Year with newly extended premises.

Next year will see it expand even further with the inclusion of a maturing cellar and cheese museum.

Husband and wife team, Andy and Kathy Swinscoe, have just completed the first phase of the shop’s expansion - now three times the size of the original premises, which were once the home of the Yorkshire Dales Falconry Centre.

Andy and Kathy first set up business in a space of just 16 square meters near Settle; they relocated to the former falconry centre at Austwick, of the A65, but even that proved too small for the rapidly growing shop.

The business, which runs a very successful order service, was unable to take any more Christmas orders two weeks before the holiday, following ‘unprecedented demand’ as Andy revealed in a recent interview on BBC Radio 4’s farming programme.

The newly enlarged shop now employs 20 people.

Andy says his aim was to have ‘more cheese and fewer queues. During coronavirus restrictions, and before the new shop was opened, customers patiently waited outside before being let in a few at a time.

He said: “We’re proud to have grown here within Settle over the last nine years whilst our business has been supporting and championing unique artisan-made farm-cheese.

“The pandemic initially hit us hard and trade dropped dramatically, but by diversifying and tweaking and finding new markets we have managed to keep going and recently have seen our business start to grow in the same way as it did before the pandemic.”

He added: “Our latest development has seen us enlarge the shop substantially, so that we now have more space to mature, display and offer for sale our fabulous cheeses whilst ensuring that we maintain a safe distance between customers in this continuing pandemic.

“We can now serve more sets of customers at the same time whilst still giving them our renowned tailored service, guiding them through the new and different cheeses we offer that are still made by small British family farms.”

The enlargement of the shop is the first phase of extensive plans to improve the business, which in 2022 will see the construction of a unique underground maturing cellar along with a new cheese museum and space for events and catering, all with magnificent views towards Ingleborough.