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About Garthenor

Garthenor is, among other things, a certified organic yarn producer. They are committed to establishing and sustaining a positive environmental legacy for the future generations.

In doing so, they are committed to minimising their overall impact on the environment while encouraging environmentally responsible behaviour on the part of our employees, suppliers, manufacturers, customers and partners.

Specifically, they aim to reduce energy usage, paper usage, waste, promote conservation, and to inspire action. Thanks to their experience and crafts(wo)manship, they can identify, measure and understand the direct and indirect impact of their operations, how they compare to other companies in the sector, and develop innovative and realistic solutions for mitigating those impacts.

The farm

Garthenor is a small family farm located in west Wales overlooking the Teifi valley towards the Cambrian mountains.

The farm is owned and run by Sally, John and Jonny. Here they have flocks of Shetland and Ryeland sheep, both white and coloured and also Shetland Cheviots – very lively ewes.

Their traditional breeds of free range hens and ducks produce the organic eggs which they supply to local shops; and the large organic fruit and vegetable garden and polytunnel keep us in fresh produce. Bob the sheepdog keeps everything in its place and is as happy helping with hedge laying, cleaning out ditches, sorting fleeces or putting chickens and ducks to bed as she is working the sheep before falling asleep beside the kitchen range.

All Garthenors fields are laid to permanent pasture bordered by well-established hedgerows, trees and streams. These are not only of benefit to their farmed livestock - offering shelter, shade and fresh water from the natural springs - but of great importance to the wild birds and animals visiting the farm. They are fortunate to have a large heronry in the forest bordering some of their land and Red Kites, Buzzards and some of the smaller birds of prey are seen every day. The woods and ponds on the land host a hive of wildlife including amphibians, small birds and rodents.

Sally, John and Jonny are firm believers that we are merely caretakers of the land and as such should cause as little harm as possible so converted all the land to organic in the 90s.

The whole farm is entered into both Glastir Organic and Glastir Advanced – a Welsh scheme which was set up to deliver environmental improvements for a range of objectives including habitats, species, soil and water.

The wool

All Garthenors wool is certified organic at every step of the production. This creates a finished product that is kinder to the environment and is cleaner, more natural and purer.

Organic agriculture supports better animal welfare. Organic sheep are reared, fed, sheltered and transported with consideration for their wellbeing. Cruel practices are prohibited and animal stress is minimised. Organic farmers take a preventative approach to disease, so animals are not routinely treated with antibiotics, wormers or pesticides. Organic animals are reared on organic feed and grazed on organic land, and are free to pursue their natural behaviour with plenty of space outside and a free range life.

Organic wool production doesn’t use harmful manufacturing chemicals. Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) ensure that the chemicals used in processing textiles meet strict requirements on toxicity and biodegradability. (In contrast, non-organic manufacture uses tens of thousands of acutely toxic chemicals, including heavy metals, formaldehyde and aromatic solvents, many of which are classified as hazardous by the World Health Organisation and have been associated with cancer, birth defects and hormonal and reproductive effects in wildlife and humans.)

The end garments are residue free. By banning and restricting harmful chemicals in organic textile production and processing, final products don’t contain allergenic, carcinogenic or toxic chemical residues from them. Tests on conventional clothing have revealed traces of pesticides, fire retardants, formaldehyde and toxic dyestuffs. These residues can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

All Garthenors supplier farms are certified organic and annually inspected by their certifying body to ensure compliance. Garthenor works with like-minded farmers, who believe that a natural, sustainable approach to agriculture is the way forward. They believe in supporting farmers and paying them a fair rate for their wool.

For years, the cost of shearing a sheep was more than the value of the fleece, and we’re fighting to change this. Wool is a unique, quality material that has diverse characteristics across all the British breeds of sheep.

Sheep are a natural resource in the UK, which has over 60 breeds; more than any other country and all offering different fleece properties.