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Welsh Mountain Sheep

In early 2019 we gave a home to an elderly Welsh Mountain ewe called Nettle. She came with her friend Mango from the same smallholding as Nora, Doris, Alice, Dobby, Hagrid, Hermione, Luna, Xena and Spot. She is the first pure Welsh Mountain sheep to join the flock but some of our other sheep do have some Welsh genes in them passed down from 3 Welsh Mountain x Shetland ewes who were some of the first sheep I ever owned. There are many Welsh Hill Sheep local to us and sadly many of the fleeces get dumped or burned because commercially they are almost worthless and not worth the time to take to the wool depot. Personally I love working with Welsh Mountain wool. It is coarse and often contains kemp and longer guard hairs making it perfectly suited to rug weaving. It is also great core wool for needle felting and can successfully be used to create wonderful wild looking felted rugs. People often use the terms 'carpet wool' and 'core wool' to describe coarse fleeces in a negative worthless light but as someone who makes rugs and needle felted animals, I strongly feel there is as much value if not more in these types of versatile durable fleeces than there is in a fancy Merino or Wensleydale fleece. I am happy to buy local Welsh Mountain fleeces and showcase this brilliant British Wool alongside my own sheep's fiber and who knows perhaps in the future we may have one or two more of these beautiful sheep within our own flock.
Welsh Mountain sheep are one of the oldest sheep breeds in the world, with references to the breed found in the literature of the Middle Ages. There are many traditional Welsh Mountain hill sheep in our local area. Their exceptional hardness and ability to survive in difficult circumstances mean that these sheep can thrive where other breeds would perish. Much like many primitive old sheep breeds the Welsh are excellent mothers and lamb easily. Their lambs are born with a good covering of wool to enable them to survive in harsh weather. Their lambs are also pretty darn cute and the adult sheep are very beautiful with their small ears and slightly roman noses. Welsh Mountain sheep often show pheomelanin in their fleeces this is the tan/orange colour that often appears as on their necks, legs, faces and sometimes bodies as ginger freckles and spots. This is a version of the 'white pattern' in sheep color genetics and is actually called 'Welsh Mountain red' as it was first noticed in this breed. Pheomelanin is always visible in the hair on the faces and legs of the sheep and in the guard hairs and kemp in the fleece but it fades in the actual wool as the sheep matures.