11 August 1995

Flockowner seeks sponsorship for English wool centre

THE Northern Hemispheres largest flockowner of Polworth and Corriedale sheep is seeking sponsorship for an English wool centre.

Keith Hounsell, who runs 225 Polworths and 30 Corriedales in partnership with Anne Woellwarth at Hartley Manor Farm, Sherborne, Dorset, wants the centre to be modelled on The Scottish Wool Centre, Aberfoyle.

It would promote farming – with an emphasis on wool production – to the public at the same time as acting as the base for a project to find and produce commercial sheep which carry a finer fleece.

Mr Hounsell has found a suitable site near Bridport, Dorset.

"The project would look at crossing Polworths, Corriedales and possibly Merinos with white-faced Down breeds, such as the Poll Dorset. Only those cross-bred ewes with fleeces free of kemp and black fibres would be retained," said Mr Hounsell.

Significantly improved

He has already experimented with this cross and found wool quality significantly improved. Lambs were about four weeks later to finish, as compared with more conventional meat breeds.

The pedigree Polworth and Corriedale flocks at Hartley Manor Farm have yielded 3t of wool this season, averaging 5kg a ewe.

Although Mr Hounsell will not sell until the market has firmed even further, the wool is expected to return at least 400p/kg this year, which is 116p/kg more than last years wool crop.

Keith Hounsall is seeking sponsorship for an English Wool Centre.