One of the oldest native sheep breeds in Britain, a hornless breed in the mountain and hill classification, the Derbyshire Gritstone has the qualities and potential to increase the agricultural productivity of the bleak upland areas of the north Country and of Wales.
The Gritstone is strong and resistant to disease and a most economical sheep on high ground.
Bred to be adaptable to the difficult and rigorous environment of the wild rugged High Peak country, the Derbyshire Gritstone has a capacity to thrive and produce lively lambs which, on ewes with highly developed mothering qualities and a good milk flow, have a relatively rapid growth rate and high survival traits. They mature well to dress at 18.14Kg (40 llbs) in sixteen weeks on the hill to 21.34Kg (47 llbs) in ten weeks on marginal land. The ewe mating weight being 63Kg.
Growing a carcass of high class, prime quality, lean mutton, the Derbyshire Gritstone compares favourably with other hill breeds of like stature, and having a lambing percentage of 145% the breed produces lamb meat in quantity.
With wool which is one of the best hosiery wools procurable in Great Britain and the finest of all grown by the hill type of sheep.
Hardy and robust, the Derbyshire Gritstone is a handsome sheep of aristocratic lineage, big, flat-boned, strong and alert with a vigorous constitution. It is agile and neatly proportioned, compact and strong placed shoulders on a well-balanced frame of good lines.
With, clean-cut black and white marked face and legs clear of wool, it is a sturdy animal. The body is well-woolled, the fleeces uniform and dense, of good colour, weather resistant, and clean in the skirts. It clips with a definite staple formation of medium length of 52′s to 56′s quality count suitable for the manufacture of high-class knitwear.
Its hardiness and good looks, health and early maturity, growth and fineness of coat and ability to forage food on the poorest grazings make the present day Derbyshire Gritstone a most profitable sheep.
The breed provides the ideal genetic material as it is polled in both sexes, lives under hill conditions and is the ideal colour. It is strong and adaptable and consequently retains the natural hardiness in the native hill breeds.