Too-popular cheese rolling may become two-day event

The quintessentially English tradition of cheese rolling could be turned into a two-day festival to head off health and safety fears.

Organisers say the event has to change, but some people fear it may turn into a commercial event.

With a history dating from at least the 1800s, it sees brave people chase an 8lb Double Gloucester cheese down a near-vertical grass slope in Gloucestershire, with few contenders managing to stay on their feet.

Cheese rolling has become so popular that two years ago around 15,000 spectators turned up at Cooper's Hill, Brockworth, near Gloucester – a site only suitable for 5,000.

Last year's event was cancelled because of fears over traffic and crowd safety.

Cheese rolling committee spokesman Nigel Thomas said the event needed to change. "In its present form it attracts just too many people for us to handle safely."