An example of a well turned out Ryeland sheep.
Image courtesy of Hawthorns Ryelands.
Those local to us may have seen an article in the Western Morning News at the end of last month: ‘Cornish care home helps to save rare breed sheep.’ While the Ryeland sheep in question aren’t any longer a rare breed (they were on the RBST survival list a few years ago, but have since grown in number so that they are no longer at risk) they certainly are working wonders with people with learning disabilities at HIghdowns Farm.
The Ryeland has been popular as a perfect smallholder’s sheep due to its docile nature and the fact that it is a medium sized-sheep, so easy to handle. Highdowns have made the most of this by allowing those who live on site to work with the sheep; feeding and watering them, bringing them in at night and putting them out in the morning. As well as being a relaxing presence (let’s face it, though the lambs may run around, you won’t usually see a Ryeland run for anything less than a bucket of food), working with the sheep also gives people a sense of achievement and satisfaction.
The story of the Highdowns Ryelands can be found here.