A Rare Breed

The Wensleydale breed originated in the lower Wensleydale region of North Yorkshire in the early part of the 19th Century.  The breed was developed to provide crossing rams for use on hill breeds like the Swaledale.  The Wensleydale ram gives its progeny that extra size and quality to its fleece. 

During the latter part of the 19th and early 20th Centuries, the value of wool fell and by the 1960s the breed became virtually extinct.  Today however, although still on the at risk register with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, we number some 1500 ewes.

The Wensleydale is one of the most visually striking and heaviest of our indigenous breeds.  It has a distinctive deep blue head and ears, a long curly lustrous wool with a well developed forelock known as the ‘topping’.  Both sexes are polled which means that they are naturally hornless.

It you would like more information about the breed, please visit the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Breeders Association website at www.wensleydale-sheep.com
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