To help develop ideas for 2023 and to follow up on the success of our first ever fleece competition, Meghan escaped the office and took a trip down to the Ashford Depot of British Wool.
Spencer Bromfield, the Depot Manager, was kind enough to give Meghan a full tour, showing her what happens to the shorn fleece from its arrival through to its grading and packing before it goes off to become carpets, clothing and more. Did you know:
The Ashford Depot processes a whopping 1 million kg of wool from across Kent, Surrey and Sussex. There are only 8 wool depots in the UK
The depot processes fleece from over 200 different breeds of sheep
There’s a new Traceable Wool Scheme so now you can trace exactly where the wool in your item has come from if you need to!
There are over 120 different grades of wool; the grade governs what the wool can be used for and how much it’s worth. The grading all happens by hand and eye, needing lots of skill and experience.
Once the wool has been graded and weighed, it is packed into bales and bound with steel wire so it can go off to the manufacturers. The plastic wrapping is made with 30% recycled plastic and can be recycled again and the steel wire can also be re-used.
If you missed this year’s fleece competition and our fantastic demonstrations from Creative Fibres & The East Grinstead Spinners, then fear not as the Wool Tent will be back in 2023! Farmers – be sure to keep hold of your best fleeces for our competition.