Davidstow Creamery
Seen in March 2008
Davidstow Creamery is located in Cornwall
Davidstow Creamery
Location within Cornwall
Former namesDairy Crest Davidstow
General information
TypeCheese factory
Architectural styleFactory
AddressDavidstow, Cornwall, PL32 9XW
Coordinates50°39′00″N 4°37′59″W / 50.65°N 4.633°W / 50.65; -4.633
Elevation300 m (984 ft)
Current tenants200 staff
Construction started1950
Completed2005
Cost£55m (2005)
OwnerSaputo Dairy UK

The Davidstow Creamery is a manufacturing plant in Cornwall; it makes Cathedral City mature Cheddar cheese. It is the largest cheese factory in the UK, and the largest mature cheddar plant in the world.

History

The site is on a windswept hill top, and began in 1950. The site was started by Dried Milk Products Ltd, in Camelford Rural District. [1] Cheese manufacture would begin in 1951.[2] Another site was at Newcastle Emlyn, in West Wales, which closed in 1983, and a plant at Lostwithiel in south Cornwall, which later included a clotted cream plant, when production was transferred from St Blazey in the late 1960s,[3] which itself closed in March 1991.[4]

After the formation of Unigate in 1959, further afield there were creameries in Dorrington, Shropshire, Great Torrington in north-west Devon, and St Erth (former United Dairies) in west Cornwall.

The site competed at the Royal Dairy Show in London, and the International Cheese Awards at Acton, Cheshire

Under Dairy Crest Foods, other creameries were at Sturminster Newton, which closed in 2000, and at Cannington, Somerset, which now makes yoghurt for Yeo Valley, and a site at Ellesmere, Shropshire, which made Cheshire cheese until 1987; the area around North Shropshire is also a main dairy industry supplier, with St Ivel making cheese at Whitchurch, Shropshire. By the late 1980s Dairy Crest Foods made a quarter of all the cheese eaten in the UK.[5]

The site was bought by the Milk Marketing Board in 1979; in 1980 the processing division was divested as the new company Dairy Crest. In 1993 Dairy Crest decided to make Davidstow its main cheese manufacturing site, and invest £6m.[6] In 2002 the site employed 174.

In 2019, Dairy Crest was bought by the Canadian company Saputo Inc.[7]

Environmental concerns

On 22 June 2022, Dairy Crest was found guilty of environmental offences over a five-year period and fined £1.5 million. This is the largest fine ever awarded for an Environment Agency conviction in the South West of England. The pollution affected the River Inny, Cornwall and included releasing a harmful biocide into the river on 16 August 2016, killing thousands of fish over a 2-kilometre stretch, and coating the River Inny with a noxious, black sludge for 5 kilometres in 2018, through a release of a mass of suspended solids in July and August 2018.[8]

Construction

The boiler house was added in 1968. The site was expanded in 1984 and 2001.

A £55m redevelopment opened in 2005.[9]

Visits

Structure

View in June 2006

It is situated at the junction of the A39 and A395 in northern Cornwall.

Production

It makes 45,000 tonnes of cheese a year.[12]

The cheese is taken from Davidstow to the national distribution centre at Nuneaton in north-east Warwickshire, where it is stored for 12 months to mature.[13]

Dairy Crest also had made Cathedral City at its Maelor Creamery cheese packing plant, which opened in 1976 at Marchwiel in north Wales, which was sold (with other sites that made supermarket cheese) to First Milk in 2006, then closed in 2014. The Maelor site was the largest cheese packer in Europe producing 80,000 tonnes per year. Cathedral City cheese packing moved to Nuneaton in 2009. Dairy Crest also had a former cheese plant at Johnstown, Carmarthenshire.

Around 400 farmers supply milk to the site. Cheese made includes Cathedral City Cheddar and Davidstow Cheddar.

See also

References

  1. ^ Cornish Guardian Thursday 6 November 1958, page 7
  2. ^ Western Evening Herald Wednesday 11 October 1950, page 3
  3. ^ Cornish Guardian Thursday 5 December 1968, page 1
  4. ^ Western Evening Herald Saturday 30 June 1990, page 2
  5. ^ Western Daily Press Thursday 6 October 1988, page 22
  6. ^ West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser Thursday 15 July 1993, page 8
  7. ^ dairyreporter.com. "Dairy Crest becomes Saputo Dairy UK". dairyreporter.com. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". www.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 24 June 2022. Retrieved 30 June 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Times Monday 4 May 2009, page 47
  10. ^ Cheddar Valley Gazette Thursday 30 September 1976, page 15
  11. ^ Times Wednesday 13 July 2011, page 53
  12. ^ Times Monday 26 September 2011, page 47
  13. ^ Times Friday 19 April 2013, page 44