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Farming in Snowdonia

Shepherd Trefor Jones on the steep mountainside with Welsh Mountain sheep on Hafod Y Llan farm in Snowdonia, Wales 
Sheperd on Hafod y Llan farm, Snowdonia  | © National Trust Images/Paul Harris

Snowdonia’s rugged landscape makes for a challenging environment to farm. Learn more about the farms and tenants we’re working with, to restore vital habitats, protect wildlife and help produce good quality food.

Conservation shepherding at Hafod y Llan Farm

Hafod y Llan stretches from the valley bottom at Nant Gwynant up the steep, dramatic slopes of Snowdon and is home to hardy Welsh mountain ewes and Welsh Black cattle. Part of the farm is designated as a National Nature Reserve and the team work closely with our conservation and area rangers to ensure the land is managed to benefit nature.

We're planting more trees, monitoring vegetation and repairing eroded footpaths, in addition to actively shepherding the flock to move the sheep away from sensitive plants. By combining traditional shepherding skills with current conservation objectives, Hafod y Llan is leading on an innovative trial for habitat management.

‘Farming with nature and the landscape at its heart is essential in an area like this. They go hand in hand.’

– Bryn Williams, Gwern Gof Uchaf Farm tenant

National Trust field ecologist and monitoring officer at Hafod y Llan farm checking habitat for wildlife in Snowdonia, Wales
Monitoring the habitat at Hafod y Llan farm, Gwynedd | © National Trust Images/Paul Harris

Conservation grazing at Llyndy Isaf Farm

Llyndy Isaf has a strong focus on nature- friendly farming. The low levels of livestock make it the perfect place for a young farmer to gain practical farming experience whilst also allowing nature to thrive. The levels of grazing on the mountain over summer are also kept at a low enough density to allow woodland regeneration to occur.

Down by the lake, the cattle graze the bogs and mire so that purple moor grass and rushes aren’t allowed to take over, allowing bog myrtle and various other shrubs and flowers to flourish. Many fields adjacent to the water course have been left uncut so endangered water voles can burrow through the reeds and eat the rushes. Low grazing is also practised, to reduce the likelihood of trampling.

View of the landscape at Llyndy Isaf farm in the Nant Gwynant valley, with mountains, woodland and lake, Snowdonia, Wales.
Llyndy Isaf in the Nant Gwynant valley, Gwynedd | © National Trust Images/Joe Cornish

Flood management at Gwern Gof Uchaf Farm

Gwern Gof Uchaf is a sustainable hill farm located entirely within the Eryri Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Supported by a range of income streams it has been in an agri-environment scheme for many years and capitalises on the natural beauty of its location. The farm runs a small campsite and bunkhouse and walking trails and paths cross the land.

The mountain terrain is very lightly grazed in summer and not at all in winter. As a result the dry heath and blanket bog habitats are now in excellent condition. This will help retain a lot more water, playing a vital role in flood management within this high rainfall area.

Habitat restoration at Blaen Eidda Isaf Farm

Located on the remote slopes to the south of Ysbyty Ifan, Blaen Eidda Isaf is a 54-hectare upland farm. This is a landscape of flower rich, rushy and marshy grassland, river corridor, woodland and ffridd. Summer cattle grazing is restoring habitat for ground nesting birds such as the curlew.

A programme of ditch blocking to re-wet the Migneint is restoring deep peat back to health and a varied grazing programme is helping with the recovery of nature on the farm. The farm has worked with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology to plant more farmland trees and hedgerows to protect riverside habitats, reducing soil erosion and downstream flood risk.

Ranger in National Trust fleece inspecting white blossom on tree in orchard

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