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ENTRY TO COMPETITION Via Camping and Caravan Club. We have a certificated site (5 pitch campsite) We have had about 36 hours notice to prepare this entry, and have reconstructed the entry form from the PDF. I hope this is acceptable. About our farm. We moved here in 2000 in the hope that the small farm (only 27 acres) could provide a home and a business that our son, who has Downs Syndrome, could take part in. Glyn-Coch had been a commercial dairy farm, but diversified into soft fruit and china decorating after milk quotas came in. In 1995 most of the land was sold and in 1998 17 acres was put into a farm woodland scheme. The remaining 10 acres is grazed by Norfolk Horn Sheep. I was trained in Farm Management, and after a brief spell on commercial farms spent 25 years in Agricultural Research. Our management plan for the farm was to run it as a demonstration of the best modern practice. Although economics and regulation is making this increasingly difficult, we feel that it is also important to demonstrate the pressures that smaller farms face. Obviously the main income comes for our craft centre, but our rare Norfolk Horn Sheep are an important attraction. By maintaining the grass paddocks they help to encourage the ecological diversity of the holding and their wool is used in a variety of craft products. We are experimenting with meat sales at the moment. Flemish weavers in Norfolk used the breed in 1300 to invent Worsted cloth before moving to Pembrokeshire to set up the local weaving industry. The Flemish Weavers stayed and it is believed that they brought the surnames James, Reynish and Nicholas into the county. All these names are in my own ancestry. In 1786 a cross with a stray Southdown ram produced the Suffolk breed, which gradually replaced Norfolks until in 1965 only one flock of just 12 sheep remained. Those who rescued the breed became the Rare Breed Survival Trust ten years later. A few years ago it was discovered that Norfolk Horns are the only breed that is totally resistant to Scrapie. I have recently been told that Norfolk Horns were used to improve the local Llanwenog breed in the 1970s. The 8000 trees are mixed, mainly native hardwoods, and for a few years now have been providing the fuel to heat the shop and pottery. Last year we produced our first 30 fencing stakes for home use. Most of this wood is from windfalls and prunings, but is demonstrating the economic potential. This year we are planning to carry out our first hazel coppicing. Providing we can find a buyer. With a small woodland and sheep to look after we have to use small machines or do the work by hand. This contributed to our nomination as the most efficient farm in Wales in the Bangor University Link Wales Farm Efficiency Survey 2005. Also in 2005 we were short-listed for the Forestry Commission’s Woods for Wales Competition, and ended up with a fourth place. We have a very diverse flora with Devils Bit Scabious indicating that part of the farm is ‘ancient wetland’ and with the parasitic Hayrattle in one of our drier paddocks. We run a light trap every night of the year for the Rothamsted Insect Survey and have identified over 230 species of moth, making Glyn-Coch one of the top 20 sites in the UK for moth diversity. We have taken part in the RSPB Farmer and Volunteer monitoring scheme which revealed two nationally rare species nesting here – Goldcrests and Bull finches. Our own surveys show that about 60 species of bird visit Glyn-Coch each year. We also take part in National bat monitoring scheme and carry out annual counts of our breeding colony of Soprano Pipistrelle bats. Daubentons bats also skim our ponds and we have found Noctules near the buildings. The mammal fauna also includes otters, water shrews and possibly water voles. Amphibians include frogs toads and palmate newts and reptiles are represented by grass snakes. We have a very diverse flora of fungi (including various Bracket species and Fly Agaric) and lichens, though sadly we have not yet had time to make a species list. The craft centre is open all year, 7 days a week during school holidays, and visitors can walk through our woodland on 1-½ miles of regularly mown paths. Booked parties get a guided tour on which we describe various ecological features and the history of the farm and local area including features believed to be over 2000 years old and up to the present. Farming issues are often discussed and our sheep and occasional poultry flocks are often the starting point, and we often go on to topical issues and thence to the problem of feeding the world in the face of deteriorating weather caused by climate change. My wife is a potter and china decorator and also works with various forms of wool, mainly sourced from our own flock. Our craft shop sells mainly craft items made in Wales, and we have a tearoom and collections of wireless, computers, cameras and farm tools. Visitors who wish to spend more then a few hours here can camp on our small Certificated Campsite, which is registered with the Camping and Caravan Club.
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