Devon and Somerset, Exmoor
Trend of population size
Flock book established
Origin – history
Closewool Sheep originated in the late 19th Century from the
crossing of the Exmoor ewe with the Devon Longwool ram as a first
step in the stratification of sheep breeding, thus increasing the
and therefore the amount of saleable meet from sheep performing on
better ground. The resulting cross held its type and conformation
such that the Breed Society was formed in 1923, with the
flocks dating back to 1894. A massive decline in numbers took place
in 1960 however, with the move to a more environmentally friendly,
less intensive style of farming, there is a resurgence of
the native breeds.
The breed is
white and hornless, with a white face and a very dense white fleece
of medium staple and length. It is very hardy and well adapted to
the exposed uplands of the upland heaths.
averaging about 3 Kg, is of good quality and very suitable to blend
for a wide range of commercial uses. The ewes weigh 55 – 60 Kg,
with the rams up to 90 Kg.
lambs are readily able to fatten off grass and the ewes are
excellent mothers with good milking qualities, able to produce
excellent market quality lambs.
with Blue Faced Leicester rams produce a Devon Closewool Mule or
with a Suffolk or Texel to produce a quality cross-bred lambs for
early finishing making good weights quickly, without the need for
valued for lending hardiness and 'substance' to other white faced
breeds in improvement programmes. Half-breds from mating with
Blueface Leicester, Border Leicester, Suffolk and Texel are popular
for their ability to thrive in varied climates and farming systems,
being durable and prolific.
The flock book was established
the Exmoor National Park Sustainable Development Fund to improve the
viability of the Breed by increasing the number of flocks, raising
the profile of the breed and improving the sustainability of
member’s business by better advertising, a fresh promotional
programme, including a developing the web site, and good
presentation and representation of the breed at a selection of
national and county shows.
Cryopreservation of semen NSP storage, 1.475 doses.
Close wool Sheep Breeders Society.
Sec Mr R F Y Smith, c/o Holton & Thomas, The Elms Office, Bishop
Barnstaple, Nth Devon, EX32 0SD