Pretty deer hide handbangs for sale at the Country Life Fair

The wife of a deer manager and stalker in Dorset has set up a parallel business creating bags from deer hide. Rosemary Hobrough originally wanted a venison-sausages business—‘We have a shared deer interest, but wanted to do our own thing to maintain marital harmony’— so she attended a butchery course and was astonished to find the hides being thrown away.

‘They’re so beautiful,’ she says. ‘The UK deer population stands at about two million—and growing. Television chefs have done a wonderful job promoting venison and interior designers antler products, but now is the time to champion the hides. Deer leather is soft, flexible and light and fallow hides are particularly pretty.’

The decline in the British tannery business means Mrs Hobrough is currently using red deer products from New Zealand and UK fallow hides tanned in Europe, but hopes to rejuvenate the industry here. Prices start at £10 for coin purses; a fallow-hair Kindle case is £55 and an iPad cover £90.

Mrs Hobrough, who will be exhibiting at the Country Life Fair as RAH & Co, is also planning a range of cushions and handbags and is in the process of developing a website (www.rahandco.com).