17 june - 21 june


devon & cornwall longwool

The name gives the origin of this breed away!  Devon and Cornwall Longwools originate from the Westcountry and although they have been around for a long time their flock book was only established in the 1970s.  This breed does well on moorland and poorer soils and is very hardy.  It’s a strong, stocky sheep with one of the largest fleeces that a UK breed has to offer; a single fleece can weigh anything up to 15kg!   At 40+mic the fibre is very hardwearing which means it wouldn’t be suitable for baby clothes, but it will be perfect for something that needs to wear well and stand the test of time.  This breed is classed as ‘At Risk’ which means there are fewer than 1,500 registered pure-bred Devon & Cornwall Longwools in the UK.


The Lonk originates from Lancashire and the Yorkshire Pennines and living in these conditions has helped to shape the breed to what we see today.  The breed has been around for over 200 years with its flock book having been established in the early 1900’s.  These sheep have a thick, dense fleece to keep out the weather and are strong and agile due to the terrain that they graze.  Both the rams and ewes of this breed have corns which stand out against their often-black or speckled heads.  This fibre is around 33mic which means it can be used in garments such as jumpers to produce a warm fibre.   The Lonk is classed as ‘At Risk’ which means there are fewer than 1,500 pedigree breeding females in the UK.


The Teeswater originates from Teesdale in Country Durham and is one of the larger longwool breeds.  It is often photographed with a fleece which extends well past its knees and the staple length can easily reach 12 inches!  Initially the Teeswater was developed as a crossing sheep; it is the sire of the Masham.  However the fleece has become very popular with crafters for its lustre, length and locks…lovely!  Fleece quality can be variable depending on the age of the sheep but adult fleeces tend to be around 40mic.  Lamb fleeces are often a lower micron count and both can be used across all crafts.   This breed is classified as ‘At Risk’ which means there are fewer than 1,500 breeding females in the UK.


Creatively named, the Wensleydale comes from the Wensleydale area of Yorkshire (just like the cheese).  The Wensleydale is a big sheep, with rams weighing up to 135kg and ewes easily making 90kg (that’s about 3x the weight of a Shetland!).  The breed has been developed as a dual purpose breed for both meat and wool with the flock book starting in 1920.  The fleece has been prized by hand spinners for many years and the elusive black Wensleydale (formerly a recessive colour) is now becoming very popular for its colour and quality.  It is on average around 35mic which makes it popular for many crafts and the locks are very sought after.  The Wensleydale is classed as ‘At Risk’ which means there are fewer than 1,500 pedigree breeding females in the UK.  It is thought that the reduction in numbers is due to the sheep no longer being bred as a crossing sire for meat sheep.

Whiteface Woodland

The Whiteface Woodland originates from the Pennines between Derbyshire and Yorkshire; it is a big-boned, strong sheep with a white face (the clue is in the name!).  Despite being named woodland it is a hill breed which is in its element on rough terrain and low quality grazing which makes it a good choice for farms at higher altitudes.  The woodland part of the name comes from one of the original breeds’ origins; this breed had finer fleeces.  This fleece is sturdy and springy and at around 35mic it is a versatile fibre to work with.  Despite an increase in popularity this breed is still classed as ‘Priority’ which means there are fewer than 900 registered breeding females and it could be at risk of decline. (This breed is also known as the Penistone…)


The Hill Radnor originates from the rolling hills of Wales.  It’s larger than its Welsh counterpart the Welsh Mountain and has been bred from tan-face sheep that were indigenous to the area.  Due to this they’re very well suited to heir hill homes and have striking brown faces and legs – they’re not dirty, honest!  Hill breeds tend to have a more coarse fleece as it is important for them to be able to keep out the weather, that being said the Radnor averages around 32mic which isn’t as coarse as other hill dwellers.  The naturally creamy white fleece has a good spring to it making it suitable for projects that require a harder wearing, yet still workable fibre. This breed is classed as At risk which means there are fewer than 1500 breeding ewes.  In the past the breed has fluctuated but has stabilised in this category in recent years.


The striking Manx Loaghtan (pronounced manks lock-tun) is one of the few sheep with four (yes four) horns.  They’re classed as a primitive sheep which means they haven’t been improved; in sheep terms improving would be to cross with other breeds to introduce specific characteristics and traits.  Primitive breeds tend be perfectly suited for the areas in which they live.  The breed has had a rocky time over the last 100 years from being on the bring of extinction in the 1950s when there were less than 50 sheep left; it’s still At Risk with less than 1,500 breeding ewes but this is a huge improvement.  Both the ewes and rams can have horns though the rams tend to have larger and longer ones.  The fleece is a short stable, moorit brown shade with a soft handle; the short staple makes it suitable for woollen spinning projects.