The Herdwick is a domestic breed of hill sheep native to central and western parts of the Lake District in the UK. The name ‘Herdwyck’ means sheep pasture and there is evidence of the breed dating back as early as the 12th century. Beatrix Potter was involved in breeding and keeping Herdwicks and upon her death in 1963, she left her land to the National Trust to continue to graze Herdwicks on.
They are the hardiest of all Britain’s hill sheep breeds and graze in flocks, often on common fells. They produce a thick, wiry grey fleece that is not easily dyed and best suited to making carpets.
The breed is slow growing and produces a distinctively strong flavoured lamb and mutton. Lambs are born black and as they grow older, fade to grey and then to white.
Herdwicks are herbivores (plant eaters) and their diet consists of grass and hay.
IUCN Conservation Status – Not listed (domesticated)