The farm consists of Pennant and Pencoed farms which have been farmed as one holding for many years. The farm is over 1,400 acres of mainly natural, unimproved mountain land and, due to some of the lower slopes being ploughed in the past, they now have more productive grass species. The farm rises from around 50? to 2,927? above sea level at the peak of Cadair Idris. The unimproved land grows natural grass with small areas of heather, rocky outcrops and scree.
The area has been farmed for hundreds of years and we are currently investigating the people who farmed this area. The main holding has the Pennant farmhouse at the lower end of the land with the Hafoty Pennant at the top end of the valley which is now in ruins. Pennant farmhouse is traditionally built with the staircase constructed within the gable wall similar to many older houses in the area. There are a further six houses or buildings located around the upper valley and the history of these is being researched.
The farm is a commercially run business but operated using traditional and environmentally sympathetic methods. In addition to being a national Nature Reserve within a National Park, it is operated within a Welsh Assembly Government environmental scheme called Tir Gofal (Land Care) that restricts grazing impact on the upper areas with the aim of heather regeneration. The farm has full organic status and is registered with the Soil Association.
The sheep flock consists of 540 Welsh Mountain breeding ewes producing fat lambs and replacement ewe lambs for replacements. The flock is hefted which means that the same family lines of sheep have grazed on the mountain for generations. Cows and calves from other farms with organic status are taken in for grazing each summer to aid with the grazing management. The sheep flock mainly live on the top hill and 7 shepherds and their dogs are needed to gather them in when they have their half-grown lambs running with them.
The Local Area
The local area is steeped in history and folklore with Castell y Bere the 1200 AD castle of Llywellyn the Great Prince of Wales in the fields below. Alongside Pennant farmhouse is the old house where Mary Jones was born in 1784 and who famously set off to walk 25 miles barefoot to Bala in 1800 to collect a bible in the Welsh Language. The folklore ranges from the giant Idris himself, who sat on the mountain, to stories of people who spent the night on the mountain coming back the next day either mad or a poet.
The farm has been passed down over four generations. They feel privileged to own and manage this unique part of the UK and hope to be remembered as custodians who handed the environment and history on intact for future generations.