The Colours of Heafing- Pure Herdwick


Sold by: Queen Conch Rare Breed Fibers

These gorgeous batts & roving are inspired by the symbolic colors of the compass. The 4 cardinal directions North, South, East & West, 4 colors, Gold, Red, Green, Blue & White (center or you). This compass is related to skill unique to the stunning steel grey Herdwick wool its blended with.

64 in stock (can be backordered)

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Herdwyck or Herdwick are the seminal icons of the Lake District of England. Seen all around the fells of the craggy but stunning areas of England.


(A fell (from Old Norse fell, fjall, “mountain”) is a high and barren landscape feature, such as a mountain or moor covered hill.


But what truly made Herdwicks adapted to the fells was their ability to ‘heaf’.

The natural homing instinct was encouraged and passed along the generations which means Herdwicks will graze specific parts of the fell without the need for fencing.  The Lake District geography created a process that saw people evolve an economic and cultural tradition to suit their environment.  It preserved a unique form of farming which has disappeared across much of the world and is as valuable as any rare or exotic culture on the planet.

Herdwyck” is Old Norse meaning “sheep pasture” although the term came to be directly associated with the hardy sheep over time.  Local folklore speculates they washed ashore from a shipwrecked Spanish Armada vessel but it’s generally accepted Herdwick’s were introduced by Norse settlers around the 9th and 11th centuries.  Genetic research suggests Herdwick’s have been little influenced by other breeds and isolated in the fells since then.

Across the ages, farmers have all had to contend with the challenges presented by the landscape.

Nothing survives where Herdwicks live,”  said Amanda Carson, Secretary for the Herdwick Sheep Breeders Association.  “They have been selectively bred to adapt to the environment over a thousand years.  They have sturdy legs suitable for the craggy mountains, good composition and have built an immunity to pests and diseases. Herdwicks have an outer coat of Kemp fibres that acts like a raincoat and a dense secondary coat, that doesn’t part with the wind, acting like a woolly vest.  They convert the sparse nutrition on the fells to feed themselves and are free-range.  They graze on a variety of vegetation and don’t require supplements so their meat is full of healthier fats.”

Additional information

Weight 8 lbs
Dimensions 6 × 6 × 6 in


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