Herdwick Sheep Breeders’ Association

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Herdwick Sheep

Guardians of  England’s Finest Landscape

Herdwick sheep are the native breed of the central and western Lake District and live on the highest of England’s mountains. They are extremely hardy and are managed in the traditional way on the Lake District fells that have been their home for generations.
The word “Herdwyck”, meaning sheep pasture, is recorded in documents going back to the 12th century. Herdwick sheep are the most hardy of all Britain’s breeds of hill sheep, grazing the central and western dales of the Lake District with fells running to over 3000 feet.


Herdwick farms have typically less than 100 acres of lower, more productive land and rely on the common grazings of the high Lake District fells. The lambs graze with their mothers on the “heaf” belonging to that farm instilling a life long knowledge of where on the fell they should be grazing. This is crucial as the central Lake District fells are inaccessible and a sheep which strays from Borrowdale to Eskdale will involve a 100 mile round trip by road for the farmer to collect it.


The Herdwick’s hardiness and ability to graze over a wide area of fell is key to the maintenance of the Lake District landscape as we know it. By purchasing Herdwick products you are giving the farmers that manage this candidate World Heritage Site a sustainable future.


Please note that the images used on these pages were provided by members of HSBA and by David Stephenson and should not be reproduced without permission

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