5 Bizarre Rural British Customs That Somehow Still Exist

A Still From The Wicker Man

Here’s a look at some of Britain’s time-honoured country traditions, from the confusing to the downright bizarre…

3. Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling And Wake

Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling

Speaking of cheese — knob-related or otherwise —  Cooper’s Hill near Gloucester is home to one of the world’s most bizarre and confusing ‘sports’: cheese rolling. Said to date back to at least the fifteenth century, the annual competition’s origins are shrouded in mystery. Some say that it began as a way of determining which farmer had the right to graze his livestock on the village common; others that it derives from an ancient pagan fertility rite performed to ensure a bountiful harvest. Most of us believe that it began when a bunch of Fred West-a-likes got pissed up on rough cider and decided to chase a wheel of cheese down a hill. These days, the cheese-rolling attracts contestants from around the world, and was even won last year by participants from America and Japan. BUT BE WARNED: cheese rolling is not without its dangers. Each year, in the rush to the bottom of the steep, unevenly surfaced hill, dozens of eager turophiles are injured and even killed*. Broken limbs are simply par for the course.

*Okay, nobody has ever died. Yet.

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