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.
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“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?
The tannery would continue as most of their business was in producing products for larger stores. But it felt wrong that they had to produce standard products, all the same, for the likes of IKEA and John Lewis. Not that there’s anything wrong with a sheepskin from either of these places, it’s just that sometimes non-standard is, well, nicer.
So we started DartmoorSheepskins.co.uk, an online shop specialising in these larger, thicker 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.
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.
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.
Wash sheepskin in a normal washing machine with your usual washing powder at a low temperature. 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.
How To Wash A Sheepskin:
Set the washing machine at a low temperature – 30°C or lower. Your machine might have a WOOL setting which will work well.
Use a small amount of Biological or Non-Biological Washing Powder.
Avoid additives like Fabric Softeners or Stain Removers.
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 when dry, and enjoy!
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 I 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
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.
After an hour in the saddle without a sheepskin seat cover, many bikers experience ‘bikers bum’ and it can actually be quite sore.
It’s not just that some bikers are more suited to a Nissan Micra either, there’s nothing manly about ignoring the early signs of a pressure sore – quite the opposite. That’s why so many bikers are turning to a sheepskin seat cover, long used by the medical profession to make grandma more comfy in bed they serve admirably on a long haul. Not only this but they are surprisingly thermo-stable meaning your bum will stay cool in summer just as it will enjoy the utmost luxury on a cold winter morning.
The fact is, riding with sheepskin feels like a privilege.
One of the features you’ll enjoy with sheepskin is its ability to wick moisture away, keeping you dry (you understand I’m not for a moment suggesting that you have a sweaty arse, it’s just the other bikers, they have arses way sweatier than you).
The softest sheepskin makes for a perfect bikers holiday, in the summer it’ll be cool, in the winter it’ll be warm.
When you’re on a bike going fast you want the temperature to change slowly, so slowly that your own fat arse can heat the seat faster than those vibrating molecules can dissipate their energy. At speeds like this you really need sheepskin.
Bikers bottom? Long journey ahead? Don’t sweat that shit out, turn to sheepskin. These sheepskins are specially selected (each one is individually picked) to have a strong double layer of fur, pick a short cropped skin for easy care. Each skin is supplied whole, you simply cut the shape you need and apply to the sadle – you’re on the road, in utter luxury.
I do like surprises; one which delights me is the cooling properties of sheepskin.
In the heat of the summer some of the wisest professional drivers will be sitting on sheepskin. And some of the happiest babies will be sleeping on them.
The fleece of sheepskin has excellent insulating properties and it is also resistant to flame and static electricity. Wool is considered by the medical profession to be hypoallergenic.Sheepskin is a natural insulator, and draws perspiration away from the wearer and into the fibers. There, it traps between 30 and 36 percent of its own weight in moisture. Wikipedia
This advice about keeping Babies cool in the summer heat (from eczema advice site, Scratchsleeves.co.uk):
“protected from the sun and using sheepskin liner in the pushchair can really help keep your little one fresher – the open pile of the fleece allows air to circulate under the body so they don’t get as hot and sweaty (but do steer clear of this if your baby’s eczema is triggered by lanolin, which is derived from the natural oils found in wool). On really hot days, we have a couple of cold packs that we slide under the sheepskin to keep the kids cool on the ride into town”
We bought our first sheepskin for our baby girl to sleep on, chiefly because it felt instinctively right, nothing else seemed soft enough for our tender little baby, we only found out later how good our choice had been. It seems that children who have spent time on sheepskin may actually carry benefits for the rest of their lives.
German researchers found babies who had slept on animal skin in their first three months of life were much less likely to develop asthma and allergies by the time they were 10. They say microbes found in animal skin could help protect against asthma and allergies by strengthening the immune system. Mail Online
Here at Dartmoor Sheepskins we can’t choose your motivation for wanting a sheepskin, whether it’s to soften a bed for a loved one who is immobile, whether it’s to keep the driver comfortable on a long journey, or, like us, because it’s the only thing soft enough for new born skin. We can’t even choose your sheepskin – only you can do that, but we CAN guarantee that you’ll be getting the highest quality tanning, on sheepskins as unique and special as your family.
Are sheepskins ethical? Are sheep slaughtered to make sheepskins?
Of the sheep that we eat in the UK, we tan just 0.45% of the sheepskin – less the one in two hundred. Most sheepskins are regarded as a waste product of the meat industry. It didn’t always used to be this way.
“In 2005 [we ate] 14.1million lambs (+ 2.2million ewes and rams) Only 60,000 UK skins p.a. are processed by the remaining UK tanning sector, less than 0.45% of the total” – 2015 Sheep Industry Report
Go back less than two decades and wool was the primary reason for sheep farming. In 2001 the ratio changed in favour of meat – a trend that continues.
Humans have been tanning animal hides for thousands of years. Today only a tiny percentage of hides go through the tanning process. The industry has come along way from preserving skins from the hunt, although the essential process is the same. The art of creating soft, lasting hides has been passed down through generations.
Sadly, much of the byproduct of the meat industry now goes to waste. Very few tanneries still exist in the U.K. All our sheepskins come from UK flocks (with higher welfare standards than much of the world) Most come from sheep that have lived on Dartmoor. Check out our shop and see for yourself, none of our sheepskins were produced in a thoughtless fashion, all are unique.
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