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
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.