Right stuff is right on the doorstep

Dan Jones, the new tenant farmer of Parc Farm on the Great Orme, with his family

Following our international search for a conservation farming hero to take on a £1 million farm for a pound a year, the successful shepherd has now been named. Dan Jones, 38, from Anglesey, will pick up the keys to the iconic Parc Farm on the Great Orme / Pen y Gogarth, near Llandudno, north Wales, in October.

His job will involve taking a nature-first approach to farming the Great Orme, to restore the landscape and allow globally rare habitats and species to flourish.

“I couldn’t quite believe it when I got the call to say I was successful. I was in shock”, said Dan.

The £1 tenancy sparked international interest when it was announced in May. Calls of interest came in at the rate of more than 100 an hour for days afterwards.

William Greenwood, National Trust general manager, said: “Whittling down the applicants to the very best was an exhaustive task, but Dan and his wife Ceri absolutely stood out from the crowd.”

Dan commented on what the dream role means for him and his family: “My wife Ceri, son Efan and I are just super excited. This opportunity will change our lives. 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.”

The announcement of the unique tenancy in May followed on from the publication of our new ten year vision, aimed at reversing the alarming decline in wildlife – 60 per cent in the past 50 years – and finding long-term solutions to help nurse the countryside back to health.

Nowhere is this need more pressing than on the Great Orme which is home to many internationally rare habitats and species; some of which exist nowhere else on earth.

To ensure we could find that special someone who could nurse this important landscape back to health and show how farming and nature can work hand in hand,  a tough and rigorous selection process was devised to find only the best candidates.

William Greenwood said:  “We are convinced that in Dan and Ceri, we found that elusive combination of skills and experience we were looking for, and have a couple who view a productive farm as one which maintains healthy wildlife and encourages visitors to act for nature, as well as produce good, healthy food.”

With just over six and a half weeks until Dan, Ceri, their son Efan, and their five working dogs move in to Parc Farm on 1 October there’s plenty for them to do.

Dan said: “We need to move out of our current house, bring our B&B business to a close, sell 1,000 sheep, wind up three tenancies we hold on Anglesey, and get Efan signed up for his new school – it’s pretty full on!”

One of Dan’s first actions as the new tenant of Parc Farm will be to buy his new Orme flock, which will be paid for by the Trust’s partners conservation charity Plantlife.