The Devon Closewool is a medium sized, white faced, hornless sheep with a dense white fleece of medium length and staple which contributes to its valued quality of hardiness
The breed society was established in 1923 but the breed itself has existed for well over a hundred years with the oldest registered flock celebrating its centenary in 1994. The Devon Closewool's original home was Exmoor and its borders and although North Devon remains the stronghold of the breed it is now spread throughout Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and parts of Wales. Regular autumn registered breed sales are held in North Devon and West Somerset.
The Devon Closewool is primarily a grassland sheep well suited to the exposed uplands of its native heat where its hardiness allows it excellent livability, and the capacity to thrie where many breeds would die. Many flocks live entirely in grass and long fodder all the year round and under commercial conditions very little hand feeding is required. They are, however, well suited to housing or lambing with the young lambs showing inherent hardiness qualities upon turnout, including the ability to resist the driving Atlantic wind and rain familiar to North Devon and Exmoor.
The pure bred lambs will readily fatten off grass and supply ideal Spring/Summer lamb by three months of age. The ewes cross with rams of Down or Continental type produce ideal cross-bred lambs for early finishing, making good weights quickly and without concentrate feeding. A good quality fleece is produced, very suitable for blending and with a wide range of commercial use including hosiery, fabrics and tweeds. Fleece weights of up to 4kg (ewes) and 6kg (rams) are obtained. Rams of the breed are valued by flockmasters of other white faced breeds for lending 'substance' and hardiness in improvement programmes.
The outstanding qualities of the Devon Closewool are hardiness, economical feeding, easy-care foundation breeders with the capacity to produce a top flight halfbred ewe. Devon Closewool and Devon Closewool Halfbreds are sheep bred in the West Country for West Country conditions.