Balwen: We have 12 breeding ewes and a ram, registered with the breed society. These are hardy animals, originally bred for life on the high slopes of the Welsh mountains. They're quite at home at the lowly altitudes we provide, often preferring to be outside their shelter whilst the frost develops on their fleeces. Their naturally chocolate colour makes them quite distinctive and their fleece is sought after for spinning into wool as it does not require dying. They are smaller than most commercial breeds making them easy to handle, although if you want something to pet be prepared to spend a lot of time with them. In 1947 the breed nearly became extinct, with just 1 ram remaining. The numbers increased slowly with flocks initially limited their home patch in the Tywi Valley. The breed society was formed in 1985. Whilst breeding numbers continue to increase, the RBST classify these as ‘At Risk’, with less than 1500 breeding ewes. These primitive breeds take a while for their lambs to finish. While commercial breeds can be on your plate in 22 weeks, we keep our Balwen until at least 9 months. By this time the grass is losing it’s summer quality and the lambs can be kept on until 12 months without adding any fat.
Greyface Dartmoor: Unlike the Balwens, these are very docile animals and will take food from our hands. They have very distinctive long shaggy fleeces, with strands up to 30cm in length. These are listed by the RBST as a ‘Minority’ breed, with fewer than 3000 breeding ewes. Our flock is made up of a ram and 7 ewes.
Jacob: These sheep have white and black/brown fleeces and come with 2 or 4 horns on both ewe and ram. Originally brought to the UK in the 17th century as ornamental grazers on estates and parkland, their popularity declined until in the mid 1900s their numbers fell to around 2700. Last year the number of registered ewes exceeded 3000 for the first time since the society was formed over 40 years ago and the RBST moved the breed out of the Watchlist’s category 5.