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British Wool grading system

The British Wool grading system categorises wool based upon both its style and characteristics.  In doing so we seek to maximise the value for our producers by increasing the value of your wool to manufacturers.

The style of wool is generally determined by its staple length, crimp, fineness, handle and lustre.  There are six main styles of British Wool:

  • Fine with Southdown as a sub category
  • Medium with Romney as a sub category
  • Mule otherwise known as Crossbred
  • Lustre with Bluefaced Leicester and Devon as the two main sub categories
  • Hill with Cheviot, Fine / Medium Hill and Lonk as the three main sub categories
  • Mountain with Welsh Mountain, Swaledale and Blackface as the three main sub categories.

In addition British Wool produces a number of speciality wools which have distinctive characteristics and are usually specific to a particular breed.  These speciality types are Dorset, Jacob, Masham, Teeswater / Wensleydale, Lincoln, Shetland, Exmoor Horn, Hebridean and Herdwick.

Within each style of wool, fleeces are graded by quality with judgements made across a range of characteristics.  These characteristics include:

  • Whether the wool comes from a Hogg or a Ewe
  • ColourStaple strength
  • Uniformity
  • Kemp
  • Grey fibre
  • Cotts
  • First / Second shear

In total British Wool produces almost 120 grades of fleece wool.  Each of these are identified with a grade number and short description. British Wool also produces Organic and Winter Shorn variants of these fleece grades where appropriate.

In addition British Wool produces more than 20 grades of lamb wool.