Farm Diversification: Glencroft launches unique wool project with Dales farmers
Wool has been seen as a waste by-product for many years, but there are increasing trends towards reclaiming and reimaging this product as a useful and profitable farm diversification option. Farmers across the dales and investigating this new challenge through Glencroft.
Clothing brand Glencroft is to launch a traceable ‘Farm to Yarn’ Dales wool collection in 2022, following a grant from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. Glencroft was awarded £5,000 in funding to support the project, which could pave the way for the production of more sustainable and traceable wool yarn products.
As part of the Clapdale Wool Project, the brand will purchase wool fleeces from local farms within a five-mile radius of its Dales headquarters at a competitive price. The wool will then be scoured, processed and spun in a variety of local factories and mills in Yorkshire. The Yorkshire-made yarn, which will be traceable from farm to end product, will be used to make a range of sustainable woollen knitwear, knitting yarn and tweed products.
The initiative has been inspired by a similar project in the Lake District that used wool from the Herdwick breed. A team of British wool and fashion designers to create a Yorkshire equivalent using sheep breeds, including Dalesbred, Texel, Teeswater and Blue Faced Leicester.
Glencroft owner Edward Sexton said: “By using breeds from the hills which surround us in Clapham, we will produce wool that relates directly to the economy in 2021. Not just the traditional rare breeds like the Dalebred – but a combination of the old and the new,” he explained. “This year we will use wool from two local Clapham farms – Dawsons of Bleak Bank and Whitakers of Bowsber Farm – both of whom farm their sheep in the fields around us.”
The project will create a circular economy in the Dales allowing local farmers to be paid more for their fleece, with 10% of profits fed directly back to local farmers.