Livestock Ranger, Southwood Estate
Meet our livestock ranger as he shares his top tips for your visit to Southwood Farm, plus an insight into his role and the importance of conservation grazing.
What does your role as livestock ranger involve?
No two days are the same as a livestock ranger! My role covers the National Trust’s coast and countryside portfolio, from the Southwood Estate above Newgale right through to the St David’s Commons.
It’s a very diverse place to work, with my outdoor office encompassing 1,000 acres of coastal landscape and inland heaths. As livestock ranger, I’m responsible for the Trust’s herd of Welsh Black Cattle and Welsh Mountain Ponies in Pembrokeshire (a total herd of 70); ensuring they're well-fed and cared for.
The livestock are integral to our conservation grazing scheme; the cattle and ponies enjoy a rich grass-based diet and in turn help maintain the heathland which supports other flora and fauna.
I also work closely with tenant farmers and graziers, and when I’m not with the cattle and ponies, I can be found completing countryside maintenance. From fences to gates, there’s always plenty to keep us rangers busy outdoors!
What do you enjoy about working for the National Trust?
I’m really proud to work for the National Trust in such a key conservation role. As a young farmer with a passion for caring for the countryside, it’s an ideal match.
Through nature-friendly farming, I’m able to play my part in safeguarding special places like coastal landscapes and inland heaths for ever, for everyone. It’s especially rewarding being able to care for sites right here on my doorstep in Pembrokeshire.
Do you have a favourite spot along the Pembrokeshire coastline?
My favourite place is Porth y Rhaw which is nestled at the bottom of Nine Wells Valley in Pembrokeshire. It’s a secluded seaside spot and is great for a coastal walk and wildlife watching; the ponies graze the valley here and chough can often be seen on the wing.
Andy's top 3 things to see and do on the Southwood Estate
- Go on the woodland walk – Everyone who has been on the walk has commented on how quickly you move from coast and farmland to magical untouched woodland. Be sure to visit when the bluebells are out, usually around April.
- Take in the view from the field beyond Maidenhall car park – Stunning views across St Bride’s Bay and on a good day out to Grassholm Island about nine miles away. From the field it is possible to see three other National Trust properties; Solva Coast including Porth y Rhaw; St David’s Peninsula including Carn Llidi; and, the Deer Park at Martin’s Haven.
- Find the Celtic cross – It’s worth spending a few minutes hunting down the Celtic cross that is incorporated into the front wall of one of Southwood's range buildings. The cross is of unknown provenance, but there is a hill on the estate called Church Hill and it is possible to see an outline of a church in the field.