‘Nature-first’ Welsh shepherd wins £1 tenancy to £1m Great Orme farm
A new shepherd has been found to rent a £1m farm on the Great Orme, North Wales for just £1 a year and will conserve the "fragile" landscape and wildlife.
Owned by the National Trust, the hunt to find a conservation farming hero sparked worldwide interest, but Welsh farmer Dan Jones from Anglesey fought off fierce competition to secure the tenancy at the 124 acre Parc Farm.
Chosen for his “nature-first” approach to farming, Jones’s first task will be to buy his new Orme flock, which will be paid for by the trust’s partner, conservation charity, Plantlife.
Home to rare habitats and species, the National Trust took action to buy the farm, and grazing rights over an additional 720 acres of the Great Orme, in May last year after some of its key habitats and species were deemed at threat.
The Great Orme is home to wild cotoneaster and two subspecies of butterfly, the grayling and the silver-studded blue.
The charity also said they wanted to prevent the fragile limestone grasslands from potentially being developed into a golf course.
Jones said: “Y Parc is a dream farm, it is such a beautiful location, the views are amazing, and I’m really looking forward to farming in a different way to make a difference for nature.”
He added: “With the tenancy at just a pound, it allows us to be able to farm far less intensively, focus on improving the habitats, share more of what we’ll be doing with visitors and still produce great food.”
The unique £1 tenancy offer followed the publication a new ten-year vision by the National Trust, which aims to reverse the alarming decline in wildlife and find long-term solutions to improve the health of the countryside.
Earlier this month, the trust also called on the government to put the recovery and future resilience of the natural environment at the heart of the funding system that will replace the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
William Greenwood, National Trust general manager, said: “In taking on Parc Farm last year we made a commitment to do all that we can for this incredible landscape.”
He added: “To ensure a healthy and beautiful landscape we need the most agriculturally productive pastureland to be grazed less, and the least agriculturally productive grassland to be grazed more, which is pretty counterproductive and requires a farmer with a unique set of skills.”