Our new Devon and Cornwall Longwool sheep are settling in well to their new home at Stone Farm. They are beautiful animals with a long shaggy fleece that gives them an endearing “teddy bear” look.
They are also a rare breed on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s (RBST) “at risk” list with less than 1,500 breeding ewes in the country, and that number is, unfortunately, at present decreasing each year!
There have been Longwool sheep in the Westcountry for centuries. At the start of the twentieth century there were two related breeds : the South Devon and the Devon Longwool which was predominantly bred in North and West Devon and North Cornwall.
In 1977, with diminishing numbers, the two breeds were amalgamated with a single flock book.
Devon and Cornwall Longwools are a sturdy, hardy breed, well suited to our farms to the North of Dartmoor and the West of Exmoor. They are renowned for the amount of wool they produce, anything between 7kg and 15kg a year. The record is a massive 20+ kilograms! This is more than any other breed of British sheep.
The Devon and Cornwall Longwools produce good lean meat, as well as the large amounts of wool. The long strands of wool are utilised for purposes as varied as the production of carpets (maybe the original Axminster carpets in the eighteenth century??) to the making of hair for dolls.
So at Top Meadow Farm we are doing our bit to retain a rare breed and we are looking forward to showing these beautiful animals at local agricultural shows and to breeding from them next Spring. Meanwhile our micro-flock is settling in, enjoying the grass in our meadows and getting to know us!