October on the farm. Sheep!

Texel Ram on Castle Hill

Richard Fonge writes:

This month I would like to write about the importance of sheep to our countryside. There are many breeds of sheep in this country, most of them named after the area they come from. Our mountains, moors and hills are dependent upon the sheep to maintain their beauty, we all so admire. I used to when farming run a flock of 350 Lleyn ewes originating from the peninsula of that name in north west Wales, and by crossing them with a Charolais ram from that region of France, they produced good meat lambs. The main breeding ewe in England is perhaps the mule ewe. A speckled face sheep of a taller stature than most. Some are in the field on the Stuchbury footpath. They are a cross between the Swaledale of Cumbria and the Blueface Leicester. The breeding of the mule is vital to the economy of North West and its landscape management. The female offspring of these sheep are sold at sales in places like Lazonby, Hawes, Penrith etc in the autumn and come south to form many farmers flocks. These sheep with their hybrid vigour, (and this also applies to many other breeds) are then crossed with a breed of ram to produce a good butchers lamb. The most popular Rams are the Suffolk, Charolais and the Texel originating from Holland. This breed can be seen on Castle Hill waiting to be called for duty by the Farmer and in the field to Stuchbury, where they are a work. I was given a sideways glance by one the other day, and I was reminded of Rumpole of the Bailey!

More on the next page – click on “read the rest of this entry”.


Could this be “Rumpole of the Bailey”?

The wealth of the Cotswolds came from wool in Tudor times, as did our own Lawrence Washington’s of this parish. Today the sheep and commercial lamb production keep a farming balance in this area, with plenty of permanent grassland to graze, whilst keeping the places we love to visit on holiday in their natural beauty.

Sheep are frightened by dogs, so please adhere to the countryside code and keep them on their leads when walking through them. Also when walking with your dog when off their lead keep them close to hand. It is now the shooting season, one of our country sports, so please respect the wishes of our local landowners.

Richard Fonge



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