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The Alpaca Centre

Snuff Mill Lane,
Cumbria CA11 0HA.
Tel/Fax: 01768 891440.

Close to Lake Ullswater, this unique centre set in rolling countryside, is a beautiful place to see Alpacas and a chance to discover so much more.

Free Admission

The centre is the only one of its type in the UK and has been developed to expand the knowledge of the Alpacas, its products and its viability as a farm animal for fibre production.

It is run by Joy and Garry Stevenson in association with Pat Bentley who has been rearing and farming Alpacas for over 15 years.

The Alpaca is a product of ancient Andean civilisations, where 6,000 years ago it had already evolved from the vicuna to produce a unique fibre in great quantities.

Production of Alpaca fibre reached its height in the time of the Incas where it was reserved to clothe the nobility.

It owes much of its beauty to the genetic inheritance from the wild, distinctive vicuna, which produces the finest fibre in the world. The vicuna, however, resisted domestication and hence the development of the Alpaca, a placid, co-operative camelid growing exceptional quality fibre.

Alpaca fibre was first processed in Britain by Titus Salt of Saltire, into cloth for high quality clothing, cherished for its texture, warmth and durability.

Although British production is in its infancy, Alpaca wool has become more and more important to designers and manufacturers who recognise its fine insulating properties.The centre is open Easter to October, 10:30am to 5/6pm - Closed Mondays. Open Bank Holiday Mondays.

Open winter weekernds 10:30am to 4:30pm. Winter week Days - Please telephone for arrangements. (Tel: 01768 891440).

The centre welcomes visitors of all kinds:

  • Those with just a general interest and a fascination to know more.
  • Schools who wish to introduce children to Alpacas or with a project in mind.
  • Other organised groups.
  • Agricultural, textile or veterinary students.
  • Those examining the possibilities of farming Alpacas.

The center also:

  • Acts as an Alpaca stud too
  • Has Alpacas for sale
  • Is a development centre for Alpaca husbandry
  • Provides a shearing service.

The centre hosts a Spirit of the Andes shop stocking a wide variety of Alpaca goods and clothing for sale. Spirit of the Andes has become the leading European brand of handmade Alpaca knitwear. Designed in the North of England, and handmade in Peru using only the best quality Alpaca wool, two collections with a difference are produced each year, combining simple sophistication with a touch of latin flair.

The British Alpaca Society ( BAS )

The Society aims to:

  • Promote high standards of welfare, breeding and fibre.
  • Inform and educate members and the general public on the breeding, rearing and care of Alpacas.
  • Establish and run efficient and effective registers.
  • Members will also benefit from the exchange of information and from BAS demonstrations and social events.

For further information about the British Alpaca Society please contact:

Mrs Pat Bentley, Tel: 01931 714373
The British Alpaca Society
Registered Office: 4th Floor,
The Quadrangle, Imperial Square,
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 1YX

Registration No: 3256068 Incorporated in England and Wales.

The Alpaca

Alpacas are native to the high Andeasn regions of South America. They are primarily found in Peru, Bolivia and Chile.

Archaeological evidence shows that Alpacas were domesticated several thousand years ago.

Alpacas are hardy, adaspt well to most climates and live to between 15 and 25 years.

Adults grow to around one metre at the shoulder, and weigh between 60 to 80 kilos (130 to 175 pounds).

Males mature at between two and three years, and are as easily managed as females which mature at one year.


Alpacas are easily managed. Routine husbandry includes annual or biennial shearing, regular worming, vaccination against clostridial disease and occasional trimming of teeth and feet.

Alpacas are herd animals and should not be kept alone, although they can graze quite happily with other animals. A stocking rate of 9-12 per acre is acceptable, depending on grass conditions.

Grass, hay and small amounts of concentrate make up the bulk of their diet. They must have a supply of clean drinking water.

They can winter out with access to a field shelter.

Normal stock fencing is adequate.

The normal gestation period is 11.5 months with one cria being born, usually during daylight hours. Birthing complications are rare.


Alpacas have been selectively bred for fibre colour and fineness for thousands of years. Alpaca fibre is produced in 22 natural shades, from white through fawn, brown and grey to black.

Alpaca fibre is not only soft and lustrous, it is also one of the strongest natural fibres. This exquisite fibre has many uses from the finest gossamer shawls, through a variety of elegant, light and warm luxury garments to robust, hardwearing, cosy socks!

The fibre grows continuously so can be sheared at ant time when the weather is suitable. An Alpaca will produce two to three kilos of fibre each year.

The British Alpaca Society is co-ordinating the development of Alpaca fibre processing, from raw fleece to value added product, via a co-operation initiative.

Alpaca Scotland

Near Glasgow, Alpaca Scotland at Old Ravenshaw Farm, Langbank, PA14 6YG. Tel: 01475 540 409 E-mail: stocks Alpacas which can be "owned" from a distance.