Handing on the Llyndy baton

Owain Jones handing the shepherds crook to new scholar James Evans

Llyndy Isaf, our special National Trust Wales farm in Snowdonia, will soon be home to a new young caretaker, full of energy, enthusiasm and fresh ideas.

Current Llyndy scholar Owain Jones handed over the shepherd's crook to James Evans, from Builth, at the Royal Welsh Show. James is now spending a summer working alongside Owain and will take on the 13-month management of the 614 acre upland farm in September.

The terrain and climate make Llyndy Isaf a challenging place to farm. The portfolio includes several Sites of Scientific Interest so there’s a strong emphasis on conservation. It’s a special place - and a special opportunity for 25-year-old James, who brings with him experience in farming sheep and cattle in Radnorshire.

In 2011 the National Trust launched a £1 million fundraising campaign to save Llyndy Isaf farm for the nation, which reached its target in just over seven months. The following year the Llyndy scholarship scheme was set up by the National Trust in partnership with Wales YFC, to encourage and support young people into the farming industry.

Caryl Hughes and her dog Mist looking out over Llyn Dinas
Caryl Hughes and her dog Mist looking out over Llyn Dinas
Caryl Hughes and her dog Mist looking out over Llyn Dinas

So far the emphasis of work at Llyndy has focussed on laying the foundations and getting the basics right. When Caryl Hughes, the first scholar began, she had her work cut out setting the place up, repairing the boundary fence and buying in stock.

The second scholar, Tudur Parry, drew on his beef cattle background to expand the herd of Welsh Black cattle and purchase a bull, while also gaining valuable experience in sheep farming.  Owain Jones has been expanding his work to help out at Bryn y Bont, near Nantmor, to trial low impact conservation grazing for a hay meadow project.

Owain’s successor James is interested in drawing on the experience of other National Trust projects such as Parc Farm on the Great Orme and the shepherding project at Hafod y Llan, to see how he can strive for a good balance between production and conservation during his scholarship.   

He also wants to build on the previous scholar’s work by trialling some of the latest schemes offered by Wales YFC at Llyndy. James says: “I can’t wait! I’ve been helping out on farms since a young age, but I’ve never had the chance to manage a farm myself before. I’m really looking forward to moving up to Snowdonia, getting stuck in and calling Llyndy Isaf home for a year.” 

" We are delighted that the appeal of farming Llyndy Isaf is spreading across Wales. James brings an interesting skills set with him and is brimming with new ideas. We look forward to seeing him develop into a highly skilled, competent farmer."
- Carys Vaughan, Wales YFC Rural Affairs Chairman