Bringing our farming hearts together with our creative spirit, The Rushlade Wool Company was born in 2017.
The flock goes back much further than this and we are born and bred Devon farmers running a flock of just over 200 ewes on our beautiful little bit of Dartmoor.
The company is family run and the average day on the farm starts with a walk about the stock, baby on my back, bucket of sheep cake in hand and dogs at my heel!
My mother is the spinner, knitter and our first 'accidental' customer that started us off on the journey. We grew up with knitting machines running with my mums own cottage industry creating knitwear in the 90s. With the arrival of her first grandchild in 2014 there was fresh demand for her famous Tractor jumpers and the machines were dusted off as 'Welstor Woolies'. Now back into busy production once more we started experimenting with how our wool could be used rather than using so much imported materials when we had the fleece all around us! Now my Mum plays an important role testing products and advising to help ensure that our wool is suitable for the spinners and knitters that we supply. (Have a look on our Partners page to find out more about Welstor Woolies)
We have a number of breeds of sheep on the farm providing a wide range of different fibres suitable for a number of different crafts, from soft and fluffy to gorgeous long locks:
The Whiteface Dartmoor
A native breed the Whiteface Dartmoor is a hardy sheep. The ewes are excellent mothers and they are all well suited to our ground on the edge of The Dartmoor National Park. We keep our best ewes pedigree to carry on the strength of this wonderful breed whilst also crossing some with a Bluefaced Leicester ram to produce the Whiteface Dartmoor Mule. A mule that is growing in popularity, it has the curls of its mother and fine lustre of its father providing us with a wonderful fibre to work with.
We are members of the Whiteface Dartmoor Breeders Association - For more information about the association and the breed have a look at their website by clicking here.
Originally a Spanish breed, the Merino is most prevalent today in Australia having declined in the UK hundreds of years ago when shepherds moved away from wool production to focus on the production of meat. The Merino has a lean body but high quality, super fine, soft wool. There aren't many in the UK with the majority of flocks here selling fleece for export.
As the fibre is super fine it is very comfortable to wear against the skin even for many that would normally find wool too itchy!
We first brought the Merino ewes into the flock in January 2017, the ewes were in lamb to a Merino Ram and gave us a year of wonderful lambs. Since then we crossed the ewes with our Whiteface Dartmoor Ram creating the Dartmoor Merino. The wool is much like its Merino mum but on a bulkier ewe, easier to shear and a better mother.
In 2019 we brough in Shaun! Shaun is our Merino ram giving up more Merino offspring into 2020. Watch this space for lots of Shaun’s offspring over the coming years!
The Merinos wool is loved by spinners and with a clean dense fibre it generally just has a dirty tip that can be combed out. We often find spinners liking to work with the Merino in the raw. Due to its fine fibre, the Merino felts well and makes a brilliant material for wet felting.
We offer Merino as Raw wool, rovings and in three weights of yarn as dyed or natural.
Mules - North Country, Cheviot & Herdwick Mules
The Mules are sired by a Bluefaced Leicester Ram which improves the fleece providing softer, longer and finer locks of wool whilst retaining some of the mothers characteristics.
The Teeswater produces long free hanging locks of wool. The long locks are wonderfully soft and versatile to a number of crafts. When crossed with a Dalesbred Ewe, the Teeswaters characteristics are passed on to the Masham which is a renowned commercial half-bred.
These wonderful strong ewes have striking black faces and long white fleece. Surprisingly soft for a hill breed, these horned ewes are excellent mothers and run the hills of our farm beautifully. They are an absolute joy to see and bring wonderful lambs to the flock each year. Generally their wool is used to make our wonderful felted rugs and similar products.
Texels and Beltex
Often the shearling wool of our Texels is fantastic for spinning but often not popular with spinners and knitters. The structure of the fibre is however great as stuffing for cushions and other similar makes. We always keep a stock for our own makes and are happy to provide raw or washed to order.
All of our fleeces are available via our website but many are in limited supply so we would always recommend getting in touch to pre-order. To do this please email