A SOMERSET cheese maker - the UK's largest independent cheese producer and exporter - is set to rebuild its dairy after plans were approved.

Wyke Farms, based in Bruton, aims to double the capacity of the dairy with the redevelopment, part of the company's five-year plan for growth.

The expansion project, titled ‘Ivy’s Dairy’ after Wyke Farms’ matriarch Ivy Clothier, will create a 16,589sq-m, state-of-the-art production facility.

The brand has been building its presence in export markets in preparation for post-Brexit trade and will be launching new export targeted products throughout 2019.

Richard Clothier, third generation family member and managing director, said: “Our strategy of selling into a growing export market has been very successful; it generates revenue that allows us to mitigate against the risks that a volatile dairy sector and a disrupted UK retail sector may bring.

"The new dairy is crucial to facilitate the growth and meet global demand.”

Wyke Farms has been producing its award-winning cheddar to a secret family recipe for more than 150 years and has grown to become one of the largest family-owned cheese makers in Britain, selling more than 15,000 tonnes annually in more than 160 countries around the world.