Balwen Sheep

The history of Balwen sheep

Balwen means ‘white blaze’. Balwen sheep were originally only in the extremely remote area of the Upper Tywi Valley. This is an area of about 50 square miles on the borders of Carmarthenshire and Breconshire.

Balwen sheep have certainly been there for over 80 years and possibly for up to 150 years.

Balwen sheep reached their lowest ebb following the disastrous winter of 1947, when there was only one surviving ram. During the 1950’s and 1960’s there was a steady increase and in the 1970’s people outside the valley took an interest in the breed.

The Balwen Welsh Mountain Breed Society was formed in 1985, and these coloured sheep have now spread far and wide.

The colour of Balwen sheep

The base colour of these coloured sheep can be dark brown, dark grey but preferably black. They have a white stripe running from the poll to the nose. The lower half or two-thirds of the tail should be white. Ideally the sheep should have four white socks. Rams must be horned and ewes polled.