This book traces the origin and development of the breed and reveals the fell farming year through numerous historical and current examples. It describes the arrangements for managing sheep on the fells, (many of which are common land) and the famous heafing behaviour of Herdwick sheep is examined in detail as are the roles of sheep dogs, sheepfolds, sheep identification marks, Shepherd’s Guides and shepherds’ meets.The work of the many Herdwick families is documented as is the role of Mrs Heelis (as Beatrix Potter was known locally) putting both her contribution to the Herdwick sheep breeding community and also her legacy to the Lake District into perspective.
This book also looks at more recent challenges to Herdwick sheep keeping such as the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in Cumbria in 2001; reductions to stocking levels as a result of environmental schemes; and the reform of hill farming policy. It concludes by suggesting some ways forward to sustain a key part of the Lake District’s cultural landscape.
Written by Geoff Brown Secretary of the Herdwick Sheep Breeders’ Association for over 20 years.
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