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About the breed

Ryeland sheep are a very old British breed. Although the exact origins of the breed are unclear it is believed they were derived from the Spanish Merino. The breed was developed in the area surrounding Ross-on-Wye and was highly prized for its fleece in mediaeval times.  Our orchards are also grazed by our small flock of Ryeland sheep - a traditional management technique to keep the grass cut without using machinery!   


As British wool became less popular, by the start of the twentieth century there was little interest in pure bred Ryelands.  This situation led to the formation the Ryeland Flock Book Society in 1903, with the main aim to encourage the breeding of Ryelands.   


Despite a drop in interest in the mid 20th century, the combined efforts of the Rare Breed Survival Trust, the Ryeland Flock Book Society and a band of dedicated breeders have more recently turned around the breed’s fortunes. 

Summary wording used with permission from the Ryeland Flockbook Society. 

Our flock

We produce our lambs principally from grass without significant supplements, benefiting from the mix of grass and wild flower species found in our ancient meadows. 

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