Kept in small numbers it becomes evident that sheep are individuals. This is Middlesmoor Daphne, a smallholder's love affair in wool xxx
There is something indisputably stoic about Herdwick sheep. With a stout leg on each corner and a fleece to withstand the worst of the British climate they are a valiantly hardy breed, yet wear an unwavering smile.
Native to Cumbria, Herdwicks have graced and grazed the fells of the English Lake District for thousands of years and herdwick meat was awarded Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status in 2012. For all it’s hardiness and stoicism it would seem a perfect smallholder breed, but therein lies the rub. Herdwicks are fell sheep, and sheep on the Cumbrian fells are often unaccustomed to being handled! Consequently, despite having much to recommend them, the best fell sheep can walk a bit on the wild side. Not ideal for the smallholder who needs to be able to easily manage and handle livestock.
There's nothing wild about my Yorkshire Moors flock except me!
My herdwicks are top quality sheep from show winning foundation stock, with excellent Middlesmoor, Turner Hall and Munroe bloodlines, but they have been born and bred on lowland pastures where they are regularly handled. The entire flock is quiet, easy to manage and biddable and I wean naturally so my lambs and ewes are not traumatized by this process and the flock is kept happy and calm. This gentle, mannerly demeanour even extends to Yorkshire Moors Baxter and Munroe Isle, our resident rams, who are indeed the finest of gents.
Quality over Quantity
From the outset I wanted to produce a quality Herdwick for showing and breeding and I've been successful at that. I've never been interested in the numbers and I don't take anything to market. If you are looking for quality breeding stock or a few low maintenance but highly attractive lawnmowers to help manage grazing land, I can supply quality tups, lambs, hogs, older ewes or wethers. With the sole exception of tups, singletons cannot go without company. If you want some of my stock you need to take at least two because woollies need company. But that will not be a problem; because once you meet them you will want more…
Showing is a lot of work but it's fantastic fun and the incredible satisfaction that comes from winning with something you've bred yourself is difficult to articulate. Even if you don't win it's a good, earthy and solid few days hands full on and knees deep in wool. You'll forge a different and more meaningful relationship with your flock as a result.
I have a good eye and have been successful at showing my own stock. I would be mad to sell the best but often that's exactly what I have to do, for want of land. So occasionally, I will have something really spectacular that I want to keep but must prise myself away from. You could get very lucky; if showing is your bag that is...
Sounds Perfect doesn't it?
The drawback is that I never have many for sale. If you are interested in discussing this breed, meeting my flock or buying any stock then - as they say - you need to book early! Because I will want to vet YOU as much as you will want to vet me!