VALAIS BLACKNOSE SHEEP
The Cotswold breed of sheep is renowned for its luxurious wool, which has been highly valued throughout history. While the exact origins of the Cotswold sheep remain uncertain, it is believed that they may have been introduced to Britain by the Romans, who prized wool for making cloth.
During the medieval period, Cotswold wool was considered the finest in Europe. However, with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, demand for longwool breeds like the Cotswold declined as shorter staple fleece became preferred for spinning machinery.
Despite a decline in popularity over the centuries, Cotswold wool has experienced a resurgence of interest in recent years, particularly due to a revival in the craft movement. The lustrous, long locks of the Cotswold fleece make it an attractive choice for spinners and craftspeople seeking natural materials. The breed's association with the Cotswold landscape is notable, as their grazing habits contributed to the creation of distinctive field systems and even influenced the construction of churches and houses in the region.
Today, Cotswold wool is gaining attention from small producers and enthusiasts, with efforts to promote its use through events and initiatives by organizations like the Society. Despite fluctuations in wool prices, there is a growing market for Cotswold fleece among consumers drawn to its quality and sustainability.
The hallmark of Cotswold sheep is their distinctive fleece, prized for its exceptional length, strength, and luster. It is revered for its versatility and luxurious feel. Cotswold fleece is characterized by its long, silky locks, which can measure up to 12 inches or more in length. This extraordinary staple length makes worsted spun Cotswold yarn remarkable for its luster and durability. The wool exhibits a natural crimp that enhances its elasticity and resilience, ensuring that finished products retain their shape and integrity over time. When spun fine and smooth, Cotswold fiber drapes well and can be used in a nice shawl, outerwear, or textiles like tote bags.
Check out our wool products made with our very own Cotswold sheep