Closing temporarily from Thursday 17th February

We're closing from Thursday 17th February 2022, last orders 5pm Wednesday 16th February.
Reopening with new stock in the coming months.

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Herdwick Sheepskin

The Herdwick is a traditional breed of hardy domestic sheep native to the Lake District in Cumbria, North West England. These sheep roam the fells and graze on everything they find, helping to maintain the landscape of the Lake District National Park.

History of the Herdwick breed
The name "Herdwick" is derived from the Old Norse herdvyck, meaning sheep pasture. It is thought that the breed arrived sometime in the 10th or 11th centuries during the Viking invasions of western England. By the end of the 12th century, the Herdwick was established as an important breed in the Lake District.

Beatrix Potter and Herdwicks
The celebrated children’s author and Lake District resident Beatrix Potter was also a successful sheep farmer and breeder. As a champion of the Herdwick breed, she became the first female president of The Herdwick Sheepbreeder’s Association. When Potter died in 1943, she bequeathed 15 farms to the National Trust, and per her instructions all continue to graze Herdwick flocks.

Today, 99% of Herdwick sheep are kept in flocks in the central and western dales of the Lake District. These fells run to over 3000 feet, face the westerly rain and winds and see the country’s highest rainfall. No wonder the Herdwick is considered the hardiest of sheep!

Fleece colour
Herdwick sheep are born completely black but slowly their fleeces turn lighter so by the time of their first shearing their fleeces are chocolatey brown and their faces and legs a snowy shade of white. By the second shearing their fleece is grey, and as they age their fleece becomes a rich creamy white colour.

The Fabulous Fleece Company’s Herdwick sheepskins feature a range of colours, including browns, creams and greys but customers particularly like the purpley grey hints that make the Herdwick fleece distinctive.

Fleece texture
Herdwick have a very dense fleece with long fibres. The texture is slightly coarser than the Icelandic or Rare breed sheepskin but still soft and sumptuous. The wilder texture adds to the visual appeal.

A Herdwick fleece is also more water resistant than some other sheepskins - it gets wet more slowly and dries out faster than other fleeces.

Best uses
With the Herdwick’s texture and colouring being so visually appealing, it’s a fleece that’s so good to have on display draped over an armchair.

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