Rough Fell Sheep Breeders Association members, left to right, Roger
Sedgwick, of Sedbergh Jayne Bland and Brian Knowles, of Kendal on the
association stand at North Sheep in June with their award for best breed
stand and a 2.5 cwt ram bred by Mr Sedgwick and now owned by Clark Brothers,
of New Hutton, Kendal.
The Rough Fell Breeders Association has got its breed promotion mapped out - French style.
The new Rough Fell Country map - based on the French Ecomusée concept - will be launched at the Westmorland County Show on September 8.
It outlines the distinctive geographical area where Rough Fell sheep are bred and it gives information about the breed, the community and the lifestyle of Rough Fell farming.
Rough Fell Country is the story of farming this distinctive breed and is centred in the areas of Tebay, Kendal and Sedbergh, once a very prosperous area and the centre of the woollen and mill trade.
The sheep, which are often known as Kendal Rough Fell, are thought to be descended from the Black Faced Heath sheep. They are a large and very hardy breed that have a long thick fleece are able to exist all year round on highest fells. There are very few breeders outside this area and this small farming community share a long and traditional history of sheep farming.
Jayne Bland from the Rough Fell Breeders Association said “As a working promotional group we wanted to let every one from farmers to tourists, children and the general public to know what a brilliant sheep the Rough Fell is.
“We want people to see the environment it lives in and to show them that sheep have grazed the land for generations with out harmful effects. In all we want everyone to see and here about this local breed known as The Kendal Rough Fell. Come and see the size and conformation of the Rough Fell and also see the tremendous lambs they have.”
The Rough Fell Breeders have been working together with the help of Rural Futures and Voluntary Action Cumbria to face the challenges of the future; to improve their knowledge of their markets, improve the marketing of their sheep and lambs, and to promote the community and landscape that the Rough Fell breed supports. The map is part on a long-term project to promote this distinctive and delicious breed of sheep.
Today Kendal Rough Fell lamb is increasing in popularity. It can be found on the menu of many of Cumbria's best restaurants and the lamb can also be bought direct from a number of farmers and from Orton and Pooley Bridge Farmers Markets.
Kendal Rough Fell lamb will be for sale at the Rough Fell stand at the Westmorland show and chef, Nick Martin of the Regency Hotel Ambleside, will be doing cookery demonstrations with Rough Fell lamb at 1.30pm at the made in Cumbria Food Hall.
Jo Hampson, the creator of the map said: “This is the first time the Ecomusée concept has been used in Cumbria, and it is brilliant. It allows for an area of particular significance to be promoted in a very individual, fun and informative way.
“Rough Fell Country tells you all about the area where the Rough Fell sheep are bred, it offers things to do, places to stay, farm visits and much, much more. In fact it is a complete guide to the area for locals and visitors alike.”
The Rough Fell Country map will be available free from the Rough Fell stand at the Westmorland County Show.