Woolly winter warmers are always more beautiful when hand knitted... unless of course they're not (I'm thinking mother's Christmas gift in Bridget Jones' Diary). They're even better if the yarn is made of 100% wool and the sheep are grazing on land for conservation purposes.

Sheep are like the Hoovers of the grassland - they eat up bramble and other rough vegetation, allowing native plant species to breathe and flourish as well as open up areas for animals to create their homes.

The Nude Ewe Project has recently been launched by the Wildlife Trust to help conserve meadow and grassland habitats. In order to encourage local graziers to participate in the project it needed to be economically viable.

Enter the nude ewe.

At least once a year the sheep must be shorn - this takes both time and money. To make the project worthwhile for farmers the fleece from the sheep are spun into yarn and sold, the proceeds of which are used to offset the yearly shearing costs of the graziers.

The wool from this initial Nude Ewe project is available for £3.50. It's a beautiful natural brown with white specs. No dye whatsoever is used so you know your getting something pure. Also those who purchase a yarn receive a free scarf knit pattern.

This initial project has been set up with the county of Bedfordshire but if successful will be offered to other graziers across the UK.

To purchase visit Nude Ewe.