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Brothers celebrate win with best breed flock in region

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: December 05, 2013

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A FLOCK of Devon Closewools from Great Champson Farm, Molland, has been picked as winner of this year's breed flock competition.

The judges Ron Smith and Albert Cook, the president and immediate past president of the breed society, have been visiting farms across the South West to look for the best examples of the native pedigree.

The sizes of flock participating ranged from nine to 120 ewes and from the Cornish border to the Brendon Hills.

The flock from G Dart and Sons, won the flock ewes, stock ram and ram lambs as well as overall prize.

The family also farms Exmoor Horns and Devon cattle.

Secretary of the society, Andy Lane, described them as stalwarts and master breeders of the West Country's native stock.

Winner of the ewe lamb section was Peter Doust of Hartland, whose 13 ewe lambs were described by Messrs Smith and Cook, to be of "outstanding quality".

Mr Lane said: "The Devon Closewool, a native breed of the southern slopes of Exmoor and the productive North Devon pastures, has a real part to play in the sheep industry of the area.

"These sheep give flock owners efficient ewe producing profitable lambs, a fine fleece of wool and a niche marketing opportunity."

William Dart said he was delighted to receive the award.

He said he had kept faith with the Closewool breed because they had proved over the years to be the most profitable sheep kept on the lower part of his farm at Molland.

He went on to say that, either bred pure or crossed with a Bluefaced Leicester to produce Mules, the breed played a significant part in a successful large family farming business.

His brother, Henry, said:

"We've always been thorough and bought good rams. That's paid off in a good style of sheep.

"We look at legs and feet, and for general body appearance, that it's muscly, for the true nature of the Closewool.

"We've been in livestock breeding all our lives and it all comes with experience. You aim high. If you get beaten, you aim higher.

"Good competition is good for improving the flock."

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