We have all heard of the field-to-plate philosophy but one Somerset couple is practising a field-to-blanket philosophy, searching for the best wool from across the region.

Rhian and Mark Rochford have flocks of pedigree sheep on their county smallholding, but they found that due to the relatively small numbers of sheep they had compared to larger commercial operations, they had no viable outlet for their wool, with much of it going to waste.

Having spoken to other like-minded smallholders from across the South West and Wales, they decided that they would create a brand to utilise the wool and create something fully traceable and sustainable.

Their business, Gather, was then founded, with a little help from their children Will and Elise along the journey.

Rhian is a qualified vet with a passion for animals from a very young age, one which has been passed onto her children who both have their own pedigree flocks of Coloured Ryelands and Black Welsh Mountains which regularly attend country shows and events.

Great British Life: A gorgeous natural coloured blanket from the first collectionA gorgeous natural coloured blanket from the first collection (Image: Lucy Heath @CapturebyLucy)Mark comes from a marketing background, starting his company Mister back in 2002 and working in a successful family business for over 10 years. 

Together they now follow the wool journey from birth, raising native breed sheep with love and care before shearing, spinning, weaving, and finishing, to produce a beautiful range of British wool products. The couple travels around the South West and Wales collecting native breed wool from ‘Gatherers’. Every blanket produced is numbered and can be traced back to the very flock and sheep it came from. 

They have their own pedigree flocks of Coloured Ryelands and Black Welsh Mountains as well as a long list of other like-minded smallholders and farmers who supply them with the finest raw wool fleeces after shearing. They process the raw fleeces into their own yarn and then work with British mills that use traditional techniques.

Once they have their yarn they then begin the design process, working with highly skilled weaving experts to create designs and patterns which are then hand-woven into samples for review.

The final process in Gather's journey is the weaving and finishing into beautiful natural collections.Great British Life: They follow the whole wool journeyThey follow the whole wool journey (Image: Lucy Heath @CapturebyLucy)

Its very first collection uses Ryeland and Coloured Ryeland wool, which is blended to produce warm creams and browns. Arriving in 2023 the second collection uses a blend of Black Welsh Mountain, Lleyn, and North Country Cheviot wool which gives a range of natural whites and greys for a more contemporary look.