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This year we are excited to be introducing a limited run of our very own range of Mudchute Wool, made from our the fleeces of our own flock of native and rare breed sheep, reared and sheared right here on the Isle of Dogs!

Following our 2013 Shearing Day back in May, we sent our raw fleeces off to The Natural Fibre Company, who scoured, carded, dyed and spun our rare breed fleeces to create a range of beautiful, unique yarns. This means you can now buy local wool from the flock you and your family know and love!

All of our spun wools come in two weights, Double Knitting and Aran, and are available in a variety of colours including natural, grey, navy, lavender and guava. We are selling as near cost prices as possible and yarn will be posted second class. You can buy wool online through our website!

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About our wool

You might be surprised by just how much wool sheep grow in just a year. Simba here was shorn in May (10 months after his previous shearing) and produced about a fleece that weighed nearly 4kg. Here he is looking a bit sheepish just after his trim! However, most of our sheep produce raw fleeces that weigh 2-3kg (more info here).

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After shearing, the raw fleeces are washed (or scoured) thoroughly to remove both impurities and some of the waxy lanolin. You may have noticed this residue when stroking the sheep, and it is often used in lotions and other cosmetics.

Once scoured, the wool is carded in preparation for spinning. This is a bit like combing, separating and disentangling the wool fibres. This can be done by hand, or by drum, in which two drums lined with spikes for holding the fibre (much like a wiry dog brush) are rotated. The wool is then ready to be dyed (as some of our wool has been) and spun into recognisable yarn! This can be done by hand using a spinning wheel or spindle, or more commonly these days, by machine.

You can find out more about wool and its processing from the British Wool Board and the Campaign for Wool.

New products are Simba approved!

New products are Simba approved!


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Last month we welcomed two new Dexter Cows to the farm. Their arrival marked the much anticipated return of cows to Mudchute and we’re delighted to be able to share a little more about Dora and Delilah. Visitors may have been surprised at the size of our petite new cows, which is characteristic of their breed. Dexter Cattle are the smallest British breed of cattle. Dexters trace their origins to the South Western region of Ireland and were first documented in an 1845 report on Irish cattle. The breed have been in England since 1882 and were first shown at the Royal Show at Norwich in 1886.

Dexters are bred for both their meat and milk and are described as a “dual-purpose” breed. They are known for both early maturation and longevity. They produce a rich milk that is relatively high in butterfat (4%), similar to that of a Jersey cow. A Dexter cow can produce 2-2.5 gallons (7.6-9.5 litres) per day.

Farmer Cliff showing Delilah's petite stature.

Farmer Cliff showing Delilah’s petite stature.

Dexters have thick curved horns, but can also be polled (have their horns removed). You will note that one of our cows (Delilah) has horns, while the other (Dora) is polled. Dexters come in three solid colours, black, red and dun, with the most common being black. The breed comes in both a short-legged and non-short variety. Our cows are of the short-legged variety and have notably short stature.

You can find out more about Dexter cattle from the Dexter Cattle Society and find more photos below.


The long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus) has a distinctive long tail and small round body,

This weekend is the Big Garden Birdwatch, which is taking place across the country for its 35th year! Spend an hour getting outside and watching the birds that visit your garden to help us better understand the birds that live in and visit Britain.

Here at Mudchute, we are lucky to be home to numerous bird species, with many nesting in the park and farm and many others stopping by to refuel on their migrations between Scandinavia in the North and the Mediterranean and even sub-saharan Africa in the South. We are also home to both native species and controversial introduced species that have become resident, such as Ring-necked and Monk Parakeets. You can see a few of the more common species we see at Mudchute in the gallery below and in these pages from Shirley Wheeler’s “The Wildlife of Mudchute”.

So as you enjoy your weekend, keep an eye out and an ear out for birds this weekend and remember to register and report your sightings at https://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch. The website includes a guide to what to look out for and get ideas for family friendly activities. Spot a bird you don’t recognise? The RSPB also have a handy Bird Identifier that can help too!