Day 18: For today’s Close Up Monday, the animal (I believe) most synonymous with the Lake District, is the Herdwick. Their name stems from the Old Norse, Herdwyck, meaning sheep pasture. Herdwick sheep are the most hardy of Britain’s hill sheep. They can roam some 3,000ft around the central and western fells, and territoriality keep to their heaf, which is a learnéd bit of fell they graze.
Info taken from Herdy® states that, Lake District Herdwick farms are granted commoner grazing rights, which set the number of sheep on any given common by the grazing capacity of the fell.
Each farm has its own way of identifying straying herdwicks. Lug marks are small notches on the sheep’s ear, whereas smit marks are coloured marks on the sheep’s fleece.
The herdwick’s body has evolved to withstand the extreme winters of the Lake District. They also have resistance to diseases and ticks. They are primarily bread for meat.
The lambs are born black, but within a year they turn brown (at this stage they are called hogglets/hoggs). After their first sheering their fleece lightens to grey.
Their grazing of heather and grass, keeps bracken and scrub under control, which in turn helps keep the Lake District look.
Their wool is best suited to carpet wool and is a good insulator.
What animal do you think is synonymous with the Lake District?
Thanks for reading, and keep wild!