Background/Who We Are
Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop was established in 1989 and is based in the wide Yorkshire Dales valley of Wensleydale, part of the picturesque Yorkshire Dales National Park, selling finest lustre pure Wensleydale yarn and related products.
Originally located on farms at Spennithorne, then Garriston, our Wool Shop moved to the centre of the popular market town of Leyburn in lower Wensleydale in 2016.
Origins of Wensleydale Sheep
The Wensleydale Sheep originated in 1839 with Blue Cap, a large Leicester Tup or ram crossed with a local Mug or Teeswater. Blue Cap, a sheep of immense strength and character had a very dark head and skin but his fleece was white, with long lustrous curls, and the amazing Wensleydale was born. Fleeces are typically 8-12 inches (20.32-30.38 cm) long and are entirely kemp free.
The rare breed Wensleydale Sheep produce the finest and most valuable lustrous Longwool in the world.
Our premium breed specific 100% pure Wensleydale yarn is commissioned by ourselves then is worsted spun, dyed and finished locally in Yorkshire, England, transformed by craftsmen of the traditional West Yorkshire woollen trade, and has received the British Wool Marketing Board International Quality Award for Knitting Yarn. Our luxurious Wensleydale Longwool yarn is pure Wensleydale and not blended with other wool. The worsted spinning method enhances the natural properties of the Wensleydale fleece producing a fineness, softness and sheen which creates a silky look and feel. It also adds some extra strength.
This soft, silkiness characterises the nature of all our pure yarns, available in Aran (Worsted weight), Double Knitting (DK) (Sports weight) and 4 Ply (Fingering weight), which drape and dye like silk. Shades run through a spectrum of the gentlest country hues to jewel brilliance. Our colours and designs are inspired by the seasons and their changing moods on the rivers, moors, hills and dales and by the hues of the local limestone. Our shades from the Dales! Many of our yarn colours are inspired by local Yorkshire place names.
You can enjoy creating your own garment, or one of our team of local knitters would be happy to knit one just for you. We offer a wide range of exclusive Sheep Shop knitting patterns created to compliment the many virtues of Wensleydale wool.
Wensleydale Sheep are sheared during early Summer each year. Rare breed pure Wensleydale Longwool Fleeces are then available in both Natural (white / ecru) and the even rarer Natural Black sourced from local Yorkshire flocks for spinning, felting and hand-dying. In addition, we have our undyed natural and natural black wool available worsted spun and balled for discerning knitters.
We also stock a range of hand-knit garments (off the shelf or made to order) and woollens in various sizes, as well as knitting kits, washed fleece, greasy fleece, combed tops/roving, sheepskins, throws, knitting needles and wool related gifts and notions. In addition we hand dye some of our fleece and combed tops in vibrant colours. Also, look out for limited time bargains in our Clearance section!
We ball our wool so you don’t have to!
Most of our yarns come on 100g or 50g balls ready to knit, rather than skeins which really need balling before use. Some of our yarns are provided on larger cones (typically of 500g).
Where to find Us
Visit The Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop in Leyburn in the Yorkshire Dales (North Yorkshire), a haven for knitters, crocheters, spinners, felters and crafters. Our customers are both locals and tourists, experts and beginners!
If you are holidaying in Wensleydale or the nearby dales of Swaledale, Arkengarthdale, Wharfedale, Coverdale, Bishopdale, or other dales and moors, then come and visit us! We are near the popular tourist towns and villages of Richmond, Reeth, Muker, Masham, Middleham, Bedale, Hawes and Brompton on Swale. And not that far from Northallerton, Harrogate and Darlington.
Our Leyburn Wool Shop location and opening hours are on the Contact Us page.
In addition we sell a selection of our goods in the Fleece shop at Reeth, in Swaledale. This shop is usually open seven days a week on the village green. You will also find our wool for sale in other stores and wool specialists throughout the UK and abroad.
If you can’t visit us you can still shop online, where we ship internationally and offer free standard delivery on UK orders over £50!
Sheep Shop on Tour
Can’t get to us? We may be coming to you!
You will find us at many of the Wool Shows and Yarn Festivals throughout the year, in various parts of the UK. Check our Wool Shows page for Upcoming Events we will be at. We promote the shows in our email Newsletter and Blog page, nearer the time, and on social media.
We also have Stockists of our Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop wool throughout the UK and in other countries.
Join the conversation on Social Media
Why not join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram via the links in the Follow Us section below and share your projects with us! Or subscribe to our email Newsletter? You can also read about our news and offers on our Blog posts.
We Are Featured In…
Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop have been featured in an article in the February 2017 (Issue 164) of the Knitting magazine and a special Francesca Hughes ‘Lime Bitters’ designer pattern knit with our Lime Sherbert DK yarn was on the cover and inside feature of the April 2017 (Issue 166).
More recently, we featured in the Knitting magazine March 2020 (Issue 204) as reader nominated Favourite Yarn Shop!
We have also featured on several of the popular Knit British podcasts curated by Louise Scollay!
Simply Crochet magazine featured us in their Christmas 2018 edition (Issue 77) where our Wensleydale DK yarn was used in a Hook to Hook Designer Challenge.
Also, read customer reviews and testimonials on our Reviews page.
Last Updated on 19/04/2021