Herdwick Sheep

Herdwick Sheep

At Yew Tree Farm in Coniston, Cumbria, you can enjoy a ‘Herdwick sheep experience’ at a place once owned by Beatrix Potter. Though I embarked on this blog topic for the simple reason that I found the Herdwick sheep adorable and the setting of the Lake District picturesque beyond words, I soon discovered that Herdwick sheep were a lifetime passion of Beatrix’s. She raised them and showed them and won numerous awards. Upon her passing she donated several farms to Britain’s National Trust in order to help preserve these unique sheep and their place in British history documented since the 12th century.

Here is a lovely 3-minute video featuring Herdwick sheep in the Lake District. If you want a cuddle, check out this 2-minute video featuring a very sweet sheep named Emma who you can actually visit. Here’s a wonderful, 5-minute video of farm life with Herdwick sheep.

FunFacts about Herdwick Sheep: (Source

  • Basic information, quote: The Herdwick is a breed of domestic sheep native to the Lake District of Cumbria in North West England. The name “Herdwick” is derived from the Old Norse herdvyck, meaning sheep pasture. Though low in lambing capacity and perceived wool quality when compared to more common commercial breeds, Herdwicks are prized for their robust health, their ability to live solely on forage, and their tendency to be territorial and not to stray over the difficult upland terrain of the Lake District. (Source)
  • 99% of Herdwick sheep are farmed in the central and western parts of the Lake District.
  • Herdwick sheep are extremely hardy and have been known to survive up to three days beneath a blanket of snow by eating their own wool.
  • A 2001 outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in England and Wales nearly decimated the Herdwick breed. Steps were taken by the government to ensure their survival.
  • Herdwick sheep are documented as far back as the 12th century.
  • It is believed that the ancestors of the modern Herdwick sheep were introduced by Norse settlers.
  • The famous British author, Beatrix Potter, spent part of her life breeding and showing Herdwick sheep. Her legacy includes the donation of a number of farms to the National Trust for the purpose of sustaining the breed, quote: Upon her death in 1943, she bequeathed fifteen farms—approximately a total sum of 4,000 acres (16 km²)—to the National Trust, and per her instructions all continue to graze Herdwick flocks. (Source)
  • Herdwick sheep are numbered today at about 50,000 and most live within 14 miles of Coniston, Cumbria.
  • Herdwick sheep produce a coarse gray wool.
  • Most Herdwick lambs are born black then after a year lighten to brown. After a first shearing, their fleece then lightens to gray.

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(Unless otherwise designated, today’s photos are from Pixabay ~ Pixabay is a free site, so feel free to share, pin and enjoy these wonderful photos. Any photo designated as coming from Deposit Photos has been purchased and is subject to copyright law.) 

Pair of rare breed white headed and brown coated Herdwick Sheep in the Lake District, Cumbria, England ~ Deposit Photos

New spring lamb enjoying the sunshine with Mum ~ Deposit Photos

Herdwick Sheep on Side Pike ~ Deposit Photos

Herdwick sheep grazing ~ Deposit Photos

Flock of Herdwick Sheep all penned up ~ Deposit Photos

Herdwick Sheep on Side Pike ~ Deposit Photos

New spring lamb enjoying the sunshine with Mum ~ Deposit Photos

Herdwick Sheep on Side Pike ~ Deposit Photos

Herdwick Sheep ~ Deposit Photos

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April Winners: Merrie W., Freddie W.!!!

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To be in the running for this handcrafted paranormal romance bracelet, made by yours truly, OR a $15 Amazon Gift Card, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post. Also, feel free to post comments on every Caris Roane blog, Monday thru Wednesday this week, to increase your chances of winning this week’s prize drawing. Only one win per month allowed, otherwise no limits!

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To be entered into the giveaway drawing, please leave a comment about Herdwick sheep. Have you ever visited the Lake District and seen this unique breed of sheep? Which photo did you like best?

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34 thoughts on “Herdwick Sheep

  1. I think the last picture is so adorable. I never knew Beatrix Potter was involved with the sheep. It is so interesting to discover what people have a passion for. From Peter Rabbit to Herdwick Sheep.

  2. My grand daughter and I enjoyed the videos and pictures. She liked the babies. She/we think the dark brown with the white heads looks like cows (her daddy works on a ranch and she helps him bring in the cows sometimes).

  3. Enjoyed the videos and pictures. They look like they are a very sturdy breed with lots of fur! The little ones are so cute. AZ

  4. I love them! They are so cute, especially the last photo. Those two look like they’re asking “what’s up?”

  5. I didn’t realize they had such a rich history. One of the most fascinating facts was how the color of the coat changes. I’ve never heard of such a thing. They have adorable faces.

  6. Pingback: The Lake District - Caris RoaneCaris Roane

  7. I had just read about Beatrice Potter and her Herdwick sheep earlier today. Now I know not only what they look like, but they also seem like they are happy and smiling. If her only legacy was her illustrated children’s books, it would be quite an accomplishment. But add to that the tracts she left to the National trust, it is awesome! Such a beautiful gift for countless generations.

  8. Those sheep look so much different than the ones i have seen in NC. i love to find out about various animals that are living across the pond from me that otherwise I would never see.

  9. I don’t recall ever seeing one of these Herdwick sheep. They look a bit different than what I see around here…great photos!

  10. I’ve never been nor seen this breed of sheep before. They are amazing looking. I liked the picture of the laying sheep with a black one behind and the mountains in the background. It looks like beautiful country.

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