Yorkshire’s Whitefaced Woodland Sheep

Whitefaced Woodland Sheep

When scared or ill some people may go white in the face. Imagine if you were a scarce breed of sheep that was already whitefaced so how can they register shock.

The Whitefaced Woodland is a northern sheep breed from the South Pennines of Yorkshire and Debyshire. also known as the Penistone sheep after the Yorkshire town where sheep sales have been held since 1699. Commercial flocks of the Whitefaced Woodland are kept in the region and at special amenity farms such as Meanwood Valley Urban Farm Leeds.
The breed is listed as vulnerable by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

Whitefaced Woodland

Facts and Characteristics of Whitefaced Woodland Sheep

The wool is white and finer than that of many other hill breeds, being suitable for the manufacture of carpets, knitting or hosiery wool.
Also known as the Woodie and ‘the Penistone’ after the Yorkshire town where a sheep fair has been held since 1699.
The popularity of the breed declined with the introduction of black-faced sheep which were better suited to the cold wet conditions and rough grazing of the Pennines. Flocks are still maintained in Norfolk where the conditions encourage larger lambs to deveop.
Both sexes are horned and the ram horns are heavily spiraled.
The wool is short and fine possible due to relations with merino sheep in the past. You get about 5 pounds of wool per fleece the finest being when a sheep is shorn for the first time.
Whitefaced Woodland Sheep have mainly been bred as a meat breed.

The Whitefaced Woodland has common roots with other Yorkshire breeds such as the Swaledale and the Lonk. The Lonk is an ancient breed also found in the Pennine districts of Yorkshire and Lancashire. The Swaledale is a breed of domestic sheep named after the dale of the same name.
A similar breed called Limestone sheep is now thought to be defunct.
I have been unable to trace why the whitefaced is linked to Woodland but it may come from the the Woodlands Valley in the Peak district.


Whitefaced Woodland Sheep by The Wilky Bar Kid CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Name of Flock: The High Moss Flock bred by Jill and Paul Thorp Rishworth, Sowerby Bridge,

Whitefaced Woodland Sheep Society

This entry was posted in Our Yorkshire. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Yorkshire’s Whitefaced Woodland Sheep