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 which we keep for commercial and wool purposes. These include:
The Whiteface Dartmoor
A native breed the Whiteface Dartmoor is a hardy breed. 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 carcase but high quality, super fine, soft wool. There aren't many in the UK with the majority of flocks here selling fleece for export.
North Country and Cheviot Mules
The Mules are sired by a Bluefaced Leicester Ram which improves the fleece providing softer, longer and finer locks of wool.
The Teeswater produces long free hanging locks of wool with an average micron of 32-36. When crossed with a Dalesbred Ewe, the Teeswaters characteristics are passed on to the Masham which is a renowned commercial half-bred.