Tuesday, 10 March 2009

ABC Wednesday - H

H is for Herdwick Sheep -

a hardy breed, native of the Lake District whose oily wool waterproofs it against the wind and rain in the wettest part of England. The name is derived from 'Herdwyck' meaning sheep pasture. When they arrived is not know but it is thought possibly somewhere in the 10-12th century.

Wherever you walk on the fells whether it is at 1000 or 3000 ft you will come across them steadily munching the grass or whatever else takes there interest. I have know some of the bolder ones taking an interest in sandwiches. In the following picture taken on Wetside Edge on the Coniston fells the farmer has supplemented their feed (although they don't seem too interested) so my sandwiches were safe.

Bred for hundreds of years to be territorial they are 'hefted' to the fell this means they will not wander off their traditional patch and stick to a particular territory. Hefted flocks are seen once a year when they are brought down to lamb.

Beatrix Potter won prizes for her Herdwick sheep (she bought farms with money from her Peter Rabbit stories) and in her will stated that they must always be stocked with this breed.

Alfred Wainwright dedicated one of his fell walking guides to "the hardiest of all fell walkers, the sheep of Lakeland, the truest lovers of mountains, their natural homes and providers of their food and shelter"

H is also for Hat
sometimes made of wool but not taken from Herdwick sheep as that is usually used in carpets. Here is Ron refusing to have his picture taken by hiding in his hat.
For a host of Hs go to and enjoy ABC Wednesday


Sylvia K said...

Great photos, really interesting info. Thanks for sharing.

Tumblewords: said...

Interesting and lovely photos! Nice post!

photowannabe said...

Love the sheep and the entire series of pictures.

Granny Smith said...

I would love to weather-proofed hair - but I guess I'll leave that to wool of your beautiful sheep. Lovely photos.

Grace and Bradley said...

Lovely photos of the sheep and thanks for sharing the information of Herwick sheep.

Jay said...

Interesting information on the sheep! Interesting too that they won't wander off their territory!

lv2scpbk said...

Nice photos. I really like your "G" photo too.