08 July 2007


Part of the charm of the Lake District for me is it's vast number of sheep and in particular a breed synonymous with the area - the herdwicks . Approximately 99% of all herdwick sheep are kept in commercial flocks in the Lake District. The herdwicks can be traced back to the 12th century and have been bred over hundreds of years to be territorial so herds can be left in unfenced terrain and will not wander, with the ewes teaching their lambs.

The author Beatrix Potter fell in love with the Lake District whilst on holiday and bought a number of farms in the area where she chose to live, including Hilltop and Troutbeck Farm. She became an expert on breeding herdwick sheep and when she died in 1943 she left her 14 farms to the National Trust together with her herdwick flocks on the understanding that no other types of sheep ever be farmed there.

I went on a National Trust holiday once and their photographer was there to take photos for their website and brochures - if you scroll to the bottom of this page you'll see me and the other people on my holiday running into the sea off the coast of Cornwall after a long day at work I'm in the red t-shirt

What I love is that herdwick sheep exhibit such a range of colours. When the lambs are born they are pure black, by the yearling stage they have white legs and heads and brown bodies - they look like "Guiness" sheep and then by the following year their bodies have become grey! Magic, colour-changing sheep, dotted on the hillsides and fells of the Lake District!


Kate said...

I leave seeing and hearing about different sheep - I'm from a sheep farm, but it's all merinos and have rarely seen a different type.

Tine said...

oooh they are such gorgeous creatures!!! Love the pose of their heads as if they know... ;-)
Awesome photo on the website!!

Belinda said...

Oh my, aren't they the cutest sheep ever?! Look at those sweet, smiling faces! So cute.

Linda Stimson said...

Hi, I just thought I would let you know that I am in Oregon USA and purchased Herdwick semen last year. We Artificially Inseminated some of my ewes and beginning of March got the first Herdwick lambs on the ground. They are only 50% but next year I hope to have 75%! Here is a link to the photos