Like many English, Welsh and Scottish counties Gloucestershire has its fair share of customs and folk traditions. These are usually weird and wonderful events that date back centuries or they’ve sprung up in more modern times after being forgotten for decades. Here are just a few of the ones that local residents can enjoy watching or even take part in if they dare.
Surfing the Severn Bore. The River Severn is the longest in Britain. Its source is high up in the Welsh Cambrian mountains it makes its way down to Gloucester where it starts then widens out into the Bristol Channel. The Bore is a strong wave that flows up the River through Gloucestershire. It was first surfed in 1955 and became quite the tourist attraction. Watersports enthusiasts come from miles around to ride it.
The Onion Fayre at Newent. An Autumn favourite celebrating the humble onion. The highlight of the festival is the popular onion eating contest where you have to eat an onion the size of an apple in the quickest time possible.
The Elver eating contest. Many folk customs involve eating something to excess and this Eels-based competition in Frampton Upon Severn is one of them. Again, you have to consume as many of these worm-like Eels as you can.
Sheep racing. Staying in Frampton, the annual Sheep racing custom (now five years old and going strong). Bets are placed on whatever woolly wonder you think has the right stuff to cross the finish line first. All bets go to a charitable local cause.
Tetbury is a town famous for its location on a steep hill. It’s here that they have too famous races. The oldest is the Woolsack. Plucky individuals run down the hill with a full sack of wool, they pass it to a teammate who has to run it back up again. The hills are put to further use with a soapbox “wacky races” derby. Handmade cars race down the hills with generally spectacular results and lots of thrills and spills.
Cheese rolling. The most famous of the Gloucestershire customs and surely its most dangerous. This hasn’t stopped people from coming from all over the world to give it ago. The idea is simple. A 20-pound Double Gloucester cheese is released at the top of a steep Cotswold hill just outside of the Village of Brockworth. If you can catch the cheese before the others you win the cheese.