ENTERPRISING South Lakes dairy farmers Tom and Clare Noblet have launched a new cheesemaking business as their response to months of falling milk prices.

The couple set up Whin Yeats Dairy at Hutton Roof after successfully trialling batches of cheese in their farmhouse kitchen.

They converted one of their farm buildings for the purpose and now produce a batch of cheese each week using milk from their closed 80-strong herd of cows.

On Saturday, the couple opened the dairy for a tasting afternoon and visitors included Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron, who said: “Tom and Clare produce a variety of excellent cheeses, which I enjoyed tasting. It was fascinating to visit the dairy and see how the cheesemaking process works.

“Whin Yeats Dairy is yet another example of local people showing their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, and this looks set to be a success.”

Mr and Mrs Noblet farm in partnership with Max and Jenny Burrow.

Mrs Noblet said: "We went into partnership with Max and Jenny in 2013, after Tom had worked for them for a year with a view to us taking on the farm as a tenancy when Max and Jenny come to retire. We milk around 80 cows and have around 200 Rough Fell sheep; our cows graze outside during spring and summer and are housed during the wetter colder months. We are a closed herd, breeding all our own replacement heifers.

"Falling milk prices in late 2014 led us to looking at ways of adding value to our milk - cheese-making emerged as a way of doing this as there are very few on-farm cheesemakers, particularly in the South Lakes area.

"We converted the building ourselves over the summer and started to make cheese in early October after trialling batches in the kitchen at home. We make cheese one day each week, with the milk coming straight from the cows in the parlour to the cheese making vat; we do not pasteurise the milk and the whole process is done by hand. This means that we have full traceability of the milk ensuring its quality and safety."