THERE’S a very good reason why the people of Halford throw cheese into the River Stour each year, they’re trying to appease with cheese a giant rat that folklore says lurks in the river.
Many years ago a Viking warlord called King Hal founded Halford in 888 but his reign was brought to an abrupt end when he was killed by a giant rat which had mutated in the river and grew so big because it lived off dairy products cast in the river during the making of cheese.
Over the last 30 years Halford villagers have gathered on a riverbank next to the Stour and thrown bits of cheese into the water on the eighth day of the eighth month at eight o’clock. The ceremony is preceded with a small drama which is watched and enjoyed by villagers and you can now watch the riverbank play too.
The tradition appears to be working because over the last few years there’s been no reported boom in the rat population of Halford.