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Wool producers in the Cotswolds?

We look forward to a day in the Cotswolds while staying with friends near Swindon next summer. The literature says that all the charming wool production of the area is now mostly overtaken by larger producers, so there really isn't the same storybook wool production scene there any more. Is that really true? The RS guide and others talk about Cotswold wool, but there do not seem to be recommended mills to visit or markets where the real Cotswold wool can be browsed through. Or am I missing it? A quick google search brings up a shop on the periphery of the area, but cannot tell if it's a tourist trap or the real deal.

Does anyone know?

We plan also to visit northern Wales and Scotland on the same trip, and there are some recommended places there. Wool from those places are also touted as quite the thing, and there's a mill to tour in Northern Wales. But if the best wool is Cotswold wool, as they say, I'd like to find the best way to see it, if possible. Thanks for your help.

Posted by
205 posts

I am pretty sure most of the wool processing around here (Stroud) uses wool from New Zealand. Even the snooker table baize made here uses NZ wool. Wool has so little value that it costs farmers more to shear the sheep than they get for its wool.

In the mid- Victorian era there were 180 woollen mills in Stroud. Many still stand but there is very little production now.

Posted by
33123 posts

A lot of wool goes for building insulation and carpets. It is true that fleeces cost more to produce than they are worth, but sheep have to be shorn for their welfare. A long fleece can weigh up to 20 kg when wet (not a whole lot less when dry) which does no good for the beast.

Not much Welsh lamb in the shops either - mostly frozen NZ stuff.

Very sad for hill farmers.

Posted by
1464 posts

According to Wikipedia most UK sheep are turned into Pies.