Alison O'Neill

Shacklabank, Sedbergh

Alison farms on land overlooking the Howgills above Sedbergh. She left Sedbergh after her teens and went travelling, but came back, determined to do what she loved most, and found a farm to take on. Undeterred by others' doubts, she gathered a mixed flock and learnt on the job, building from her early experiences with her grandfather who used to farm in these hills. She is now a confident shepherdess of a flock of Rough Fells, and is looking to build up a flock of Herdwicks.

Alison is a strong advocate for using local produce. In collaboration with Cumbrian weavers, spinners and dyers she produces Herdwick Tweed suits and bags. She also leads walks in the Lake District and in the Hebrides, and has helped to create Kendal Wool Gathering.

Alison O'Neill

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