MEET OUR SHEEP

Sheep have grazed in Britain for thousands of years, providing one of our greatest natural resources – wool. The UK has more sheep breeds than any country in the world – over sixty different breeds cared for by more than 35,000 sheep farmers on hills and lowlands. Wool has different features and benefits, and therefore different uses, depending on where sheep live, on hills or lower land. Find out more about different wool types and some of our most popular breeds below, and view our breed book for more detailed information.

Meet our Sheep

Naturally Coloured

Some British breeds naturally produce coloured fleeces used, without dye, for their special effects. With a micron range of 30 – 35+, the thickness of the fibre can vary enormously, depending both on the breed and where it is farmed.
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Mountain

As a result of current farming practice, the wool from the first cross between pure breeds, such as the North of England, Scotch and Welsh Mule, now represents approximately 25% of the clip, and is mostly used in carpets.
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Hill

Wool from native hill breeds varies from fine, fairly soft handling fleeces which are used in yarns for knitting yarns and fabric, to a coarser, crisp fibre which has some resilience and ‘body’.
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Fine

The wool from downland sheep breeds is generally densely grown, springy and has a short staple. It rarely contains ‘kemp’, brittle, white fibres which do not dye easily
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Medium

Not quite as fine as downland breeds, fleeces classified as ‘medium’ have a micron count of between 31-35 and represent some of the most versatile wools in the British clip.
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CROSS

As a result of current farming practice, the wool from the first cross between pure breeds, such as the North of England, Scotch and Welsh Mule, now represents approximately 25% of the clip, and is mostly used in carpets.
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Lustre

These wools have a sheen which dye effectively. They are long-stapled, usually curly or crimped, and have a soft, almost ‘soapy’ handle.
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FIND OUT MORE IN OUR BREED BOOK

The British Wool breed book includes detailed information about British sheep breeds and wool types.

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