Our Own Dartmoor Gotlands
We have just made a visit to our tannery on the edge of Dartmoor where they use the ancient methods of tanning to finish beautiful Dartmoor rugs to the highest standard. Included in our most recent batch (for the first time ever) was our very own Gotland sheepskins bred from our own flocks. Gotland sheep were first established on the Swedish island of Gotland by the Vikings and are thought to produce the most superior sheepskin in the world. Gotland sheep travelled with Vikings on their ships and they provided food and hides for them on their expeditions.
Although Gotland sheep are very popular in Sweden there aren't many in the UK. Their sheepskins are immensely popular due to their beautiful natural shades of greys, blacks, whites and browns, paired with their soft ringlets and durability it makes them the most luxurious sheepskins in the world. We (Lewis and Flora) decided we'd love to offer our customers Gotland sheepskins but didn't want to be importing them from other countries for environmental and welfare/traceability reasons. So in 2018 we bought our first Gotland ram (who we named Gary Gotland) from a farm in the South West along with a small flock of ewes which we used to breed our own Gotland flock. We also crossed some of our Whiteface Dartmoor ewes with our Gotland ram as their qualities and sheepskin attributes have a lot of similarities (softness, curls and durability).
Gotlands are friendly, inquisitive sheep who make good mothers. They look quite goat like and love sheltering against the hedges and trees. We have to check them a lot as they often get caught up in brambles as their fleece is so fine. Sometimes the same sheep gets caught up in brambles multiple times in a day....they never learn!
Fast forward 4 years and we are now producing our very own Dartmoor reared Gotland hides. As we only have a small flock of Gotlands we will only be producing 70 sheepskins a year from our flock so they are very much a limited edition, premium product. We put them back in stock on our website last week and they all sold out within the first day. We will be putting more in stock throughout the year so if you would love one please do keep an eye out on our website and mailing list emails.
Here is a photograph of one of our Gotland ewes.