Gwern Gof Uchaf Farm, Snowdonia

View of Tryfan and Llyn Ogwen with cotton grass in the foreground

Gwern Gof Uchaf is located at the head of Llyn Ogwen, with the farm’s 303 hectare extent stretching from the edge of the lake up to the summit of Tryfan, and close to the summit of Glyder Fach. The farm is entirely within the Eryri Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The land varies from open wet fields on the valley floor, through a rock strewn ffridd, up to a mountain land of upland heath and blanket bog.

How does nature support the farm business?

Gwern Gof Uchaf demonstrates that nature conservation can be delivered on a large-scale and that upland farming can still make a profit, albeit in a different way. The farm has been in an agri-environment scheme for many years with much reduced stocking rates. Capitalising on the natural beauty of its location and the numerous paths and trails that cross the land, the farm also operates a small campsite and bunkhouse.

" Farming with nature and the landscape at its heart is essential in an area like this. They go hand in hand."
- Bryn Williams, Gwern Gof Uchaf tenant

How is this farm restoring a healthy, more natural environment?

The farm runs a hefted flock of Welsh Mountain sheep and suckler beef herd and the land is managed in conjunction with a nearby smallholding and several parcels of rented grazing land. The mountain land at Gwern Gof Uchaf is very lightly grazed in summer and not at all in winter. The dry heath and blanket bog habitats in Cwm Tryfan are now in excellent condition with good representation of typical plant species. The structure of the habitats is exceptionally good, and this will help retain a lot more water than tightly grazed swards, playing a vital role in flood management within this high rainfall area.

What support was required to achieve this?

Since at least the early 2000s the land has been in Tir Gofal and now Glastir Advanced. The farm’s popular campsite and bunkhouse are open year round. Additional income from the tenant’s butcher shop, Cig Ogwen, in nearby Bethesda also supports the farm business.

What next?

We want to see Gwern Gof Uchaf maintained as much as possible as a sustainable working hill farm supported by a range of income streams, with resulting ongoing and increasing benefits for people and nature.