Skip to content

Our work at Treseisyllt

Wildflowers flowering on the Pembrokeshire coast
Thrift and spring squill flowering on the Pembrokeshire coast | © National Trust Images / Gwen Potter

Nestled on the coast between St David’s Head and Strumble Head you’ll find Treseisyllt, a pretty patchwork of coastal grassland, heathland and arable fields. Stretching across 57 hectares, this landscape is nationally important, designated as both a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation. Discover more about the work we’re doing to manage the land.

Nature-friendly farmers

We’re working in partnership with Ian Gray and Nia Stephens, the licensees for the area, to sensitively manage the land through conservation grazing with cattle and sheep.

‘Treseisyllt is a very special place, with a range of important farmed habitats, particularly the flower-rich coastal grassland and heathland. Ian and Nia were selected as licensees here because of their farming experience as well as their clear passion to farm in a way that works with nature.’

- James Roden, Area ranger

For St David’s locals Ian and Nia, who took on the opportunity in 2018, it’s a great fit with their nature-friendly farming approach.

With their combined backgrounds in agriculture and conservation, they were keen to work in partnership with us and support the Trust’s conservation aims.

A typical working day

With livestock and 57 hectares of land to care for, there’s certainly plenty to keep them busy.

Their work involves checking the two flocks of Welsh mountain and Icelandic ewes and moving them to their next field. The flocks are rounded up and moved using their two working sheepdogs, Siani and Betsi.

The cattle graze 45 acres along the coastal belt and need to be found and checked regularly. This is all done on foot and can involve a lot of walking.

Grey seal pup on a pebble beach at Treginnis, Pembrokeshire
Grey seal pup in Pembrokeshire, Wales | © National Trust Images/John Miller

Monitoring the seal pups

While Ian and Nia are walking the coast, they check on the seal pups in autumn, that are born in coves along the coast.

They often see kestrels hunting and chough feeding on the coastal grassland and enjoy seeing the wildflowers that grow here.

Improvements to the land

Now several years into the long-term partnership at Treseisyllt, the landscape’s already showing its appreciation.

New fencing infrastructure, thanks to the support of the People’s Postcode Lottery, has enabled more sensitive conservation grazing and management of where livestock can and can’t go, ensuring the different habitats are grazed in the most appropriate way.

In their first year, they surveyed the diversity of species in the grasslands, arable flora, winter farmland birds and chough populations.

They identified a range of different flora and fauna including:

  • Flowers in grasslands: eyebright, common spotted orchid, devil's-bit scabious and bird's-foot trefoil
  • Rare arable flora: corn marigold, weasel’s snout, field woundwort and corn spurrey
  • Breeding birds: skylarks breed here, and Dartford warbler, chough, peregrines and ravens all breed in the area and forage for food at Treseisyllt
  • Winter farmland birds: large flocks of skylarks, linnets, starlings and goldfinches feed on the arable stubbles in winter, which provide an important food source for them
  • Seabirds: fulmar, razorbill and guillemot are among the seabirds that breed on the cliffs.
Blue tit in December near Bradworthy, Devon


Everyone needs nature, now more than ever. Donate today and you could help people and nature to thrive at the places we care for.

You might also be interested in

A view from a cliff top looking down towards a rocky cove which almost completely encircles a blue-green lagoon known as the Blue Lagoon at Abereiddi, with the sea stretching out towards the horizon beyond.

Explore the Blue Lagoon at Abereiddi 

Abereiddi is popular in the summer months for coasteering and kayaking, but walkers can enjoy the rugged coastline and clifftop views too. Discover the beauty of this part of Pembrokeshire and how we are working to adapt to the forces of nature.