There are also a few other breeds, including Herdwicks and Gritstones, mixed in for good measure.
While many of the sheep have been bred on the farm, we’ve taken in many that have been in need of a good home and work to give all our woolly residents a happy, healthy life. Swaledale sheep get their name from the valley of the River Swale in the Yorkshire Dales. They’re native to the remote fells of North Yorkshire and so are hardy enough to thrive in the often harsh conditions of the Llyn Peninsula.
All of the sheep at Swales have their own unique characters and you can learn a lot by just standing and observing them. As all of the sheep on the farm have been well-treated and well cared for, they come towards people instead of running away. In fact, they’re so relaxed it often feels like they’re living in one big holiday camp. Each year they provide us with a lovely fleece and in return they all have a home for the rest of their lives.
While we do a lot of varied work on the farm, it’s the sheep that are the stars of the show. The breed is noted for its off-white wool, curled horns and long, woolly tails. They have a very distinctive look – the upper part of the face is dark and the lower part is white. Their eyes are bright and alert and they have short hair on their faces.
Swaledales can grow mountain-type fleeces each year weighing 2-2.5kg each. The fleeces are soft to touch and should fill the hand. Thanks to the harsh conditions the sheep face, their fleeces have evolved to be very compact. This makes them ideal for keeping out the driving, wind snow and rain. The Swaledales at Swales are loved by all the family and have helped to transform this wild corner of Wales into a home.