The book called “Counting Sheep” by Philip Walling is a fascinating read for anyone like me who has an interest in wool. Based on some of the 60 native wool breeds that live in the UK it charts their development , their history , and the realities of sheep farming today. Although I cannot convince my family of the fact it is a really interesting read , I recommend it – there is even a chapter on different kinds of sheepdogs .
Historically sheep were kept for their wool. Wool was the mainstay of the UK economy for four centuries. Fortunes were made on wool production and export of the wool to Europe. As the demand for meat grew , new breeds were developed , often with an impact on the quality of the wool. Today sheep are almost exclusively bred for meat and the value of the wool although slightly recovering is very small.
Whilst at Woolfest I was reminded of this book listening to Peter Titley talk on rare Britsh sheep breeds. Many of these rare breeds were used in the development of today’s modern sheep.
Blue faced Leicestershire were first bred around Hexham in Northumberland. A very odd looking sheep , used to breed Mule sheep for their meat by crossing with blac-faced horned sheep.
But excellent for hardwearing carpets.
As advertised by Wools of Cumbria Carpets Ltd , with this quirky carpet sheep.