Hard wearing and fully machine washable. Sheepskins are great to come home to wherever you are.
British summer often to throws a wobbly and that’s why it’s good to know sheepskins are easy to clean. Long-haired types will pick up twigs and other woodland detritus, so save them for bedtime. Keep newer sheepskins on a ground sheet or enforce a strict no-shoes policy. Housekeeping matters, wherever you sleep.
Instant luxury seating, right by the fire.
As a sheepskin gets older you get less fussy about where you put it. It’s still the same sheepskin that was there at the birth of your new arrival, if no longer needed. It is still the same rug that helped you get out of bed on a cold morning. It’s just that tomorrow morning your day might not be starting at home.
Whilst a sheepskin might be nice on a trek, rolling into a sleeping-bag sized object is no excuse for the extra weight. Whilst we might boast about how easy sheepskins are to wash and dry, getting one wet in your rucksack won’t be fun to carry.
Where you can afford the luxury of a sheepskin is where you have a car. It’s no hassle to carry a rolled up sheepskin some distance, as long as you aren’t also lugging around everything else you need for the next three days at the very same time.
A rug like the one above really comes into its own during a picnic, where bowls of food can be nestled into the fleece and stabilised even on the roughest moorland. The real question isn’t so much what will you use your sheepskin for, but where you will be when you use it.
Cottage Cream Sheepskin
The utmost quality Dartmoor sheepskin tanned the traditional way on Dartmoor to give a lifetime of luxury. Hard wearing, the benchmark of quality.
It seems counterintuitive, but many people claim that sheepskin can keep babies cool in the heat. It’s a claim that’s sort oftrue.
Nothing will keep you cool like being well hydrated with appropriate shade, but for everything else there’s sheepskin.
Can sheepskin lower a baby’s temperature? Of course not. But unlike any man made fiber it works by wicking moisture away from the skin. This makes sheepskin ideal for babies in the heat.
Does sheepskin keep babies cool in the heat? Yes. Can sheepskin lower their temperature? No. – Use shade, fans, damp cloths if necessary. What sheepskin will do is wick sweat away from your baby’s skin and help maintain a steady temperature.
Use sheepskin as a bed, seat cover, picnic blanket or even emergency changing mat (easy washing instructions here).
Sheepskins also make a great addition to a picnic, giving you an instant soft bed for a flaked-out tot. Lay it out under a tree and baby should be fine with just a light cotton sheet on top. Pack water, obviously, and check baby’s temperature regularly – sheepskins help regulate temperature but they are not fridges.
From the NHS “Things you can do to cool someone down” Follow these 4 steps: 1. Move them to a cool place. 2. Get them to lie down and raise their feet slightly. 3. Get them to drink plenty of water. Sports or rehydration drinks are OK. 4. Cool their skin – spray or sponge them with cool water and fan them. Cold packs around the armpits or neck are good too. Stay with them until they are better. They should start to cool down and feel better within 30 minutes.
Sheepskin differs from man made fibers in that they wick moisture away from the skin, trapping air as they do so. Both these effects help stabilise the temperature for young and old alike. For young babies you will want a sheepskin shorn fairly short, leaving no long hairs to get in the way. Another benefit of short hair is the speed of drying, which can be surprisingly quick in a tumble dryer (full instructions here). Wool fibres are crimped, and when tightly packed together, form millions of tiny pockets of air. This unique structure allows it to absorb and release moisture—either in the atmosphere or perspiration from the wearer—without compromising its thermal efficiency. Wool has a large capacity to absorb moisture vapour (up to 30 per cent of its own weight) next to the skin, making it extremely breathable.
BREATHABLE Wool fibres are crimped, and when tightly packed together, form millions of tiny pockets of air. This unique structure allows it to absorb and release moisture—either in the atmosphere or perspiration from the wearer—without compromising its thermal efficiency. Wool has a large capacity to absorb moisture vapour (up to 30 per cent of its own weight) next to the skin, making it extremely breathable.
Sheepskins make a great addition to a picnic, giving you an instant soft bed for a flaked-out tot. Lay it out under a tree and the baby should be fine with just a light cotton sheet on top. Pack water, obviously, and check baby’s temperature regularly – sheepskins help regulate temperature but they are not fridges.
Sheepskins have a range of applications where keeping cool is important. Bed bound folks find relief from sores as the soft cushioning effect spreads out pressure. The wicking property plays a key role. What many people don’t realise is that sheepskin can be washed and dried in the same time it takes to wash and dry a pair of jeans.
Tough and versatile
Motorcyclists too use sheepskins on long-haul journeys, finding the added comfort valuable and much preferable to the hard plastic standard issue bike seats. It goes without saying that sheepskins are also warm in winter.
“What makes them so good? Sheepskins are cooler than vinyl or leather saddles when it’s hot. Usually they’re pale in color and reflect heat. There’s shade between the strands of wool and, with aeration, heat dissipates fast, also wicking away sweat.”
Sheepskins are not magic and cannot make anything cooler. But they can be shaved short and serve as incredibly useful pram liners, ad hoc beds, seat covers and a multitude of other things. If you want one for a small person in your life simply write ‘SHAVED PLEASE’ in the delivery notes when you place your order. If you have a special use in mind don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll serve you just as we like to be served ourselves.
British sheepskin has always been of world-class quality. Despite massive changes in the industry, we still lead on quality. Featured image by Ayse Rifat
Most sheepskin in the UK is destroyed as a waste product of the meat industry, very few go through the tanning process (read more here). Buying British sheepskin makes a lot of sense. The climate in the UK is perfect for the development of a thick fleece with fiber in at least two layers; a very soft inner down beneath a longer thicker outer coat. It is the inner down that provides that soft snuggly feeling you want to plunge your hands into.
Ethics matter, the life of the sheep is relevant. None of our sheepskin come from sheep that were killed to make our sheepskin. Dartmoor sheepskins come from animals that have lived a wild life on Dartmoor. Our sheepskins are a byproduct of the meat industry.
Hardy breeds develop thick hides and strong fleece out in the open, they also eat lots and are quite large. The only sheep that are bigger are generally from America, where regulation of growth hormones is less strict than in the UK.
Raised outside, without fences
A minority of British sheepskin will come from animals raised indoors – we do not supply these sheepskins. The reason that these sheep are kept inside is to prevent the animals damaging their skin on the barbed wire commonly used to control animals for meat production. Ironically, the most likely animals to be given this more expensive treatment will be those with extra valuable sheepskin, rare breeds in other words. This is not to say that all rare breed sheepskins come from animal husbandry of this kind, but a single tear in a hide will render it unfit for tanning.
We have no problems with barbed wire on Dartmoor as the sheep can roam freely across thousands of acres of wild beauty. So little of the sheep that we eat are turned into sheepskin (just 0.4%) that the quality is exceptionally high. No one in the UK goes through a value-adding process on sub standard starting material.
Turkey and Australia produce a lot of sheepskins, often of high quality, but do check that you are getting a single skin rather than pieces stitched together. You may wish to spend your money more locally, supporting British farmers as you do so. With prices from £59 delivered, Buying British need not cost more.
Reduce waste and petrochemical consumption
Environmentally speaking we should be using all the sheepskins instead of disposing of them as hazardous waste. Add to this our love of faux fur, made from petrochemicals and lacking in the qualities of real fur. Fake fur has a place in saving animals lives, there is no doubt about that, but destroying fur from an already slaughtered animal only to replace it with an artificial recreation is illogical. Buying faux fur is a perfect way to help animals that are raised solely for their fur. Want a mink coat? Get faux fur. Want sheepskin? Buy British sheepskin.
What to look for when buying sheepskin
How to choose the best sheepskin: Look for; thick hide, no thin patches or holes. Symmetrical shape. Different layers of fleece, inner fluffy, and outer thicker with greater variety of pigment. No bald patches. Uniform density of fiber across hide. Attractive patterning. If buying for a baby get a shearling sheepskin with the longer hairs shaved close (just request this in the order notes at the checkout if ordering from Dartmoor Sheepskins). If buying for endurance use (as a motorbike seat cover, or to help with someone who is bed bound) choose from our standard or “seconds” products. For all other purposes, pick the one you fall in love with. Got any questions or preferences? Contact Us.
Two: Follow @Dartmoor_Skins on Twitter and share our Pinned Tweet promoting #WinADartmoorSheepskin (please add this hashtag to your retweet).
Three: Make a purchase on the site between the 1st of February and the 7th of February for a minimum of £40.
You need to have done at least one of these things before February 7th in order that we can get the prizes to the winners in time for the big day.
Small Print: Each person can have a maximum of three entries to the competition, by using all three methods. Any one person can only win a single sheepskin because sending two or three sheepskins to one person would seem unfair. On Twitter you must follow @Dartmoor_Skins and retweet our Pinned Tweet. Competition closing time will be at midnight on February 7th 2019 GMT. Actions taken after this time may not result in you being entered into the competition. Competition may be withdrawn at any time, we will do everything in our power to prevent this happening but y’know earthquakes and stuff. We will notify winners via the platform they entered on within 48 hours of the closing date. If you enter and win on Twitter you will receive a Direct Message from @Dartmoor_Skins and be @mentioned in a tweet, at this point you must contact us before Valentine’s Day February 14th to arrange delivery. If you do not make contact you forfeit the prize and you will not receive a sheepskin (unless you buy one, obviously). If you enter and win on Facebook we will tag you in the competition post and send you a chat message, again you must get in touch with us before the 14th of February or we will give the prize to someone else. If you enter and win by placing an order of £40 or more by midnight on February 7th, we will let you know by email and your sheepskin will be posted to you along with your order. Sheepskin prizes are strictly our choice, no negotiations will be entered into, it’s free and you’ll enjoy it, promise. Dog not included. Your house may be at risk, but definitely not because of these terms and conditions.
We thrive on beautiful, unique sheepskins. As a husband and wife team we can pick the perfect sheepskins. These are gorgeous items that will add luxury to your family home for generations.
Pretty patterns and soft durable hides
Every trip to our tannery is exiting, although we know roughly what we want to get there is always that moment when we go through the newly tanned fleeces and select the ones that we will be offering in our latest collection. Almost every time there is one that was not what we were thinking but that we cant resist for some reason. This time we were offered a lambskin that is softer than any fleece we have ever had before. It is smaller than out usual sheepskins, gently curled, soft colours and honestly we don’t know which side you would want facing upward, both the wool and the skin are as soft as butter.
One of our favourite parts of our tannery visits is getting to see our new range for the first time, no two sheepskins are ever alike but this time the ‘theme’ of the trip seems to have been softness, from the dappled browns of the ‘Pretty’ to the gently light brown spot on our new ‘spotty’ this is the gentlest collection we have had to date.
We specialise in unique natural substances, luxury lamb fleece, sacred incenses and perfume oils. We believe that luxury shouldn’t cost the earth. That’s why we source all our products ethically and sustainably. Stuck for a stocking filler? Take a look at our economically priced perfume oils – just £4 a bottle!
Give some unique tea, for free.
Why not give our beautiful colour changing Butterfly Pea Tea, as a present? We offer generous (and very pretty) samples for free, just pay P+P. Adults love the taste, and that it’s loaded with antioxidants, everyone loves the colour! Serve with a slice of lemon for a light refreshing cup of tea, squeeze the lemon to adjust the colour and flavour.
You bring the gold! Our Frankincense,Myrrh and other sacred woods and resins are beautifully evocative. They transform the way a room feels with aromas that fill the senses and delight. Try smudging with Palo Santo to clean a room and calm life down. Use our Copal to restore energy and cheers things up. Burn Frankincense and Myrrh and you’ll see that it is as relevant now as ever. Real incenses make Christmas golden, take a look at our range of incenses.
For the ultimate in luxury we recommend sheepskin. Used by man for thousands of years (and with very good reason!) Proper Dartmoor Sheepskin costs less than you might think and each one is unique. It is a quality product that will last for generations. Tanned the traditional way on Dartmoor for the utmost in softness and care. Cuddle a sheepskin, for less than you think. See our range here.
We stock a full range of natural dyes, free from petrochemicals, and these can make excellent and economical gifts. From Mimosa Hostilis to marvelous Madder, we even supply dyes for marking seal pups! If you want to keep in touch, sign up below.
A sheepskin rug from Dartmoor Sheepskins will always be of a superb quality. Tanned the traditional way, on Dartmoor, they have a sumptuous fleece on a hard-wearing hide. These are products that last for generations and are machine washable using these simple instructions.
We will help you get the right sheepskin.
Each sheepskin rug is unique, with the pretties varying by a huge amount. Because we are a small company we can find the right one for you. Place your order and leave a comment on your order us to let us know which one you’ve fallen in love with. We’ll find one to compliment your home.
Who will get to snuggle it first?
When your sheepskin rug arrives home you are not going to want to put it on the floor. Be sure to take the time to snuggle it first. Sleep on it. Plunge your hands right in. It might even end up on your bed, being used to soften a pushchair (or to keep a baby cool in summer).
Dartmoor sheepskins are remarkably good at wicking moisture away from skin. They will also help prevent bed sores when people are imobile or sick. We can supply the right sort of fleece to help yourself or a relative. Feel free to let us know how you plan to use yours.
Why choose a Dartmoor sheepskin rug?
For hundreds of years sheep have roamed Dartmoor, free from fences and pens, living a life outside. Over the same period tanneries around Dartmoor have developed the methods still at the peak of global sheepskin quality, still in use today.
When you handle a Dartmoor sheepskin you can feel how different it is to the generic products offered by bigger stores. These hides are whole, not made from pieces stitched together. These fleeces are thick, durable and machine washable at 30 degrees Celsius.
Feel free to join our mailing list below for exclusive offers and discounts (we respect your privacy and don’t send spam).
“But this is Dartmoor” I said, as it was explained to me that the tannery, one of the oldest and best tanneries in the world, could no longer sell sheepskins locally. The Axminster Carpet factory was closing, with the loss of 300 jobs and the factory shop, which was where sheepskins were sold. An idea was forming. But could we make it work selling just sheepskin?
Could we really run a shop that sold just sheepskin?
We started DartmoorSheepskins.co.uk knowing that we would need to reach the whole of the UK in order to make it work. We built an online shop specialising in hand selected sheepskins, often patterned or with beautiful brown spots. Each unique, each one hand picked from the tannery. We fell in love with them and wanted them in our lives. We wanted to bring them into other people’s lives, as well as supporting an ancient craft. We are Chris and Shannon, this is our story.We started DartmoorSheepskins.co.uk knowing that we would need to reach the whole of the UK in order to make it work. We built an online shop specialising in hand selected sheepskins, often patterned or with beautiful brown spots. Each unique, each one hand picked from the tannery. We fell in love with them and wanted them in our lives. We wanted to bring them into other people’s lives, as well as supporting an ancient craft.
Since then we have grown into the store we have today, still called Dartmoor Sheepskins. Our range of products has grown with our customers. We now sell:
The more we looked into the industry, the more we knew we wanted to sell sheepskins. Millions of people eat lamb, and millions of lambskins are destroyed as a waste product of the meat industry. Only 0.45% of sheepskins are ever tanned. Conversely, the supply of more ethical fur is met with plastic fakes, designed to mimic the real thing.
We believe that a great deal could be gained from falling in love with sheepskin again. As a natural British resource, and as an utter luxury, but also as a pragmatic way to reduce waste and petrochemical use. British sheep have a pretty good life, Dartmoor sheep particularly so.
Sheep are generally raised outside in the UK. There is simply no reason to keep them indoors, so they enjoy a life on the land. The sheepskins we source are raised on Dartmoor. Read more about the ethics and the industry here.
Evocative scents that don’t cost the earth
Agarwood has a rich woody scent with fresh spice, faint floral hints, tobacco, leather, honey. A pleasant masculine fragrance. Strong. Agarwood is one of the most expensive woods in the world, but our oils are just £4 for an 8ml bottle. Have a look at our range here.
Butterfly Pea Tea is a delicious refreshing brew, rich in antioxidants and beautiful in colour. It responds to a little lemon juice by changing from blue into purple, see try it both ways to see which you prefer. Kids love to play with it and it’s good for them too.
We look forward to serving you, if you have any questions or suggestions we’re all ears. Remember, we started selling just sheepskin! Feel free to join our mailing list, where we give subscriber discounts and exclusive offers.
Sheepskins are machine washable at 30 degrees Celsius and can be tumble dried at the same temperature. Wash a sheepskin on its own in a normal washing machine with your usual washing powder. Afterwards, tumble dry at a low temperature. Give it a brush with a wide-toothed comb or pet brush and your sheepskin will come up like new.
Tips for perfect cleaning and care of sheepskins:
Set the washing machine at a low temperature – 30°C or lower. Your machine might have a WOOL setting which will work well (sheepskins are literally made of wool).
Use a small amount of Biological or Non-Biological Washing Powder (all work at this temperature).
Avoid additives like Fabric Softeners or Stain Removers, Bleaches or Whiteners. These will negatively affect the way natural hollow sheepskin fibers behave with regard humidity and heat.
Tumble Dry on a Low Heat to prevent the wool becoming distorted, again if your machine has a wool setting this should work well – don’t worry if not, just keep the temperature low.
Shake the sheepskin out and when dry give it a little work with a wide toothed comb.
When you first get a sheepskin you tend to show it special treatment. There’s something so obviously luxurious about it that makes you take extra special care. But soon enough the cat has slept on it, the kids have used it as a cape and it’s twice been a cushion in the garden. Soon enough, it needs a wash. People worry about how to wash a sheepskin because they don’t want to ruin the wool fibres or damage the tanned hide.
The solution is simple – keep the temperature low.
The tanning process stabilises the leather and it comes through the wash surprisingly unaffected. In fact, after a wash and dry a sheepskin usually comes up like new.
Dry it, don’t cook it!
The most important thing is temperature, too hot and the wool fibres will distort. Too cold is fine for the sheepskin but a biological washing powder needs a bit of warmth to encourage the enzymes to digest more dirt.
Other than heat distortion the sheepskin is pretty hardcore. We recommend them for motorcycle seat covers, for example. A use in which you can expect to see very hard wear, ground-on dirt and grease, and regular washing and drying. In this case the sheepskin will wear out quicker, but there’s no reason it can’t perform like new after each wash. Just remember to give it a wash in good time before you set off.
Drying Without a Machine
Place sheepskin on radiator*
Move it frequently “shake it out”
Timing is an issue. A sheepskin should be dried within a reasonable time. A soggy sheepskin is a sorry thing and should be dealt with right away. Don’t be tempted to overheat it because again you may distort the fibres. A radiator should be OK. Make a habit of rotating the fir and giving it a shake out each time you happen to pass. *If your radiator is too hot for your hand, then it is too hot for a sheepskin. Put the sheepskin over the back of a chair next to the radiator instead. Or lay it in the sun, alternating face up and face down. Same limits on heat apply.