Backed by Prince Charles, served in Claridges and protected by Europe, the Herdwick sheep is on the up!

The Westmorland Gazette: Herdwick sheep on the up Herdwick sheep on the up

HERDWICK prices have ‘risen steadily’ on the back of the breed’s high-profile exposure after winning ‘protected designated origin’ (PDO) status, says one of the region’s livestock experts.

Sales of the iconic Lakeland sheep have been averaging out at around £2 per kilo, North West Auctions’ livestock manager Bill Nelson revealed.

Following the European PDO designation, Herdwicks gained a further boost with a Royal stamp of approval from the Prince of Wales – and the breed now also has a starring role on the menu at Simon Rogan’s Fera restaurant in Claridges.

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Mr Nelson said, “Herdwick prices have had a steady increase this season and there’s a strong and emerging market for the breed.

“Chefs, butchers and retailers are discovering that there’s a demand and market for a flavour of the fells. There are good prices to be achieved at auction for good quality well finished Herdwick lamb.

“It’s vitally important to keep the breed in the public eye – the more people know about Herd-wick and the special properties of the meat the more it will generate greater demand and higher prices in thering.”

Sales figures from Booths, the only supermarket to retail Herdwick, saw a 38.8 per cent week-on-week uplift following Prince Charles’s visit to the J36 Rural Auction Centre at Crook-lands, in April.

Similar uplifts were reported by Higginson’s butchers in Grange-over-Sands, which sells between eight and 10 lambs per week.

Owner Stuart Higginson said: “Herdwick lamb has proved very popular with customers, particularly visitors who are keen to try produce specifically from the Lake District. The feedback has been good, and they’ve reported that the meat was tender, surprisingly so. We’ll certainly continue to stock Herdwick in season.”

Meat buyer David Simons said: “The increase in sales is due in part to greater awareness for the breed – customers now ask for Herdwick at the counters. We hope to increase our supply of the meat and extend the season over time to give Herdwick the shop window it deserves.”

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