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South Wales Mountain Sheep or South Welsh Mountain Sheep or Nelson Sheep



International Name

South Wales Mountain Sheep

Local Name


Glamorgan Welsh


Wales - 

Glamorgans and Gwent

Breeding females



Trend of population size


Flock book established



Origin – history

The South Wales Mountain Sheep is native to the hill areas of South Powys, Carmarthenshire, Monmouthshire and Glamorgan, and has been reared in the upland areas of South Wales for generations. It can thrive on harsh hill pastures and is especially adapted to the coal bearing soils of the region.
It is believed to be of the same primitive ancestry as the Welsh Mountain sheep but it has developed into a quite distinct animal in this region of South Wales. 


Breed description

It is the largest in size of all the Welsh Mountain Breeds with the rams weighing up to 85kg and the ewes up to 55kg. It is long lived and easy to manage.
The rams are usually horned with the ewes hornless. They are white with tan markings on the face and legs and often a distinctive brown collar. There is little wool on the belly, which reduces the susceptibility to flystrike. The fleece is dense with an even mixture of white kempy fibre making it highly weather resistant.
The breed is extremely hardy, having been bred to survive on the exposed Welsh mountainside.
The hardiness and mothering abilities of the ewes make her an ideal dam of crossbred ewes, passing on her good milking ability and strong conformation to her lambs, mainly using the Suffolk, Texel and Blueface Leicester,
Its cross-bred progeny from sires such as the Suffolk, Texel and Blueface Leicester are widely distributed for lowland lamb production, and rams are often crossed with other Welsh Mountain breeds to improve the conformation and size of more commercial flocks.
The breed is a good converter of grass to meat and matures early to produce a quality lean carcass of excellent flavour.
The flock book was established early in the 1980’s, with both rams and ewes being recorded.


Conservation activities

Breed improvement schemes are from both individual and breed society initiatives, supported by the Local Authority and Welsh Assembly and Agriscop. The breed is marketed as Welsh Lamb in a major supermarket chain.
Cryopreservation of semen NSP storage, Innovis, 3.971 doses.

Contact The breed society is the South Wales Mountain Sheep Breeders’ Society.
                 South Wales Mountain Sheep Society

                 Secretary Mr Glyn Davies, 40 Rhys Road, Blackwood, Caerphilly County Borough, Gwent,  

                 NP12 3QR - Tel 01443839234

Action Heritage Sheep AGRI GEN RES 040 receives financial support from the European Commission, Genetic Resources in Agriculture, under European Commission Council Regulation (EC) No 870/2004 AGRI GEN RES 2006 HERITAGE SHEEP