Guanaco 'best kept secret'

November 2007: Fibre from guanaco grazed in the Staffordshire Moorlands will be made into handwoven pashmina shawls and will be available at a special launch in November.

Farmer Roy Critchlow, at Heathylee House Farm, said: ‘The diminishing returns in hill farming make the production of this fibre a viable alternative business opportunity. This is one of the finest fibres in the world and much sought after in Italy and Japan.”There are thought to be about 600 guanaco in Britain, at Heathylee and Esgryn in Wales. Karen Ballington, of Heathylee, said: “I don’t think there is a lot of interest in the UK at the moment - it seems to be a well-kept secret - although there is significant interest in farming these animals in North America.”Pashminas made from guanaco fibre will be available at Bakewell Farmers’ Market, Derbyshire, on November 24.