STEVE and ALAN
and Alan are Ryeland wethers (neutered males), younger than the
Herdwicks but just as friendly, coming from a small flock close by.
They are a heavy-set breed, not exactly noted for their liveliness, but
as with the Herdwicks, they like to know what is going on. Steve likes
to think of himself as the alpha male of the flock, and leads the way
when it comes to inquisitiveness (and stubbornness!)
Ryelands were originally bred in Leominster for their wool. Leominster
Ryelands are historically famed and the wool was called Leominster ore
(gold). Elizabeth 1st was said to use only Ryeland wool stockings.
Leominster gained its wealth from the Ryeland wool industry and
Leominster was a much bigger and busier place than Hereford in
Other Ryeland wool used in Hatty Baggins products comes from the lovely sheep at Tickmore Farm in Orleton.
Ryeland fleece is soft and spongy, and sometimes difficult to felt. I
add fibres from other breeds to help with the felting process if this
happens. Coloured Ryelands, like Steve, can have different shades of
brown in the fleece and this adds an attractive depth to woollen
products. White Ryeland fleeces like Alan’s are beautifully soft to the
Both the Ryeland and the Herdwick fleeces should not shrink much and
any of the products can be washed gently in a wool wash, when needed.