Traditional Working Farm at Llanerchaeron
Self-sufficiency was at the heart of Llanerchaeron when the property was first commissioned, which is evident in the design of the courtyards and in particular the service courtyard. The farm was no exception with the stockyard perfectly designed to house and rear the livestock to supply the estate with beef, milk, lamb and pork as well as cereal crops.
The only in-hand National Trust farm in South Wales
Since the estate was left to The National Trust in 1989, the farm has been managed by Llanerchaeron staff and not tenanted out, making it the only in-hand National Trust farm in Wales. Agriculture is of great importance to the Trust, it’s our main land use spanning 200,000 hectares ‘for the purposes of promoting permanent preservation for the benefit of the nation’. The Trust’s vision for agriculture is an industry that delivers an adequate supply of wholesome, marketable food, environmental quality, biodiversity, valued landscapes, historic features, cultural and social benefits as well as providing access and information to the public, caring for resources such as soil, air and water and minimising the use of non-renewable resources.
A working farm
With all these objectives in mind, Llanerchaeron is now home to 11 different species of farm animals, all traditional breeds including Welsh Black cattle, Llanwenog sheep and Welsh pigs. These are housed where possible in and surrounding the stockyard at Llanerchaeron, bringing the farm to life and demonstrating the relationship between the house, service courtyard and farm. Throughout the year visitors are involved in the farming calendar from lambing to shearing and crop harvesting as well as having the opportunity to have close contact with all our animals.
Caring for our animals and the environment
The farm is enrolled in animal welfare schemes such as the RSPCA Freedom Foods Scheme and the Welsh Lamb and Beef Producers Farm Assurance scheme, ensuring that they receive a high standard of care and quality of life.
Our livestock is bred and reared to balance conservation grazing and meat production, the traditional breeds we keep are notorious for maturing slowly, having time to develop a superior taste. This makes them ideally suited to graze our protected habitats like the historic parkland at the front of the house and our flower rich hay meadows between the Mydr and Aeron rivers. Local customers and visitors are regularly supplied with home reared lamb, beef and pork that has never been further than 16 miles from the farm.
We also ensure that the land is managed to high standards with limited chemical inputs and a focus on cropping rotations that include cereal and root crops. These are beneficial for the soil and water quality, encourage biodiversity on the farm, offering a variety of farmland birds and wildlife a suitable habitat as well as helping the farm to be more self-sufficient with as much of our winter feed produced on the farm as possible. The principle of self-sufficiency is as important to us today as it was when the property was first built.