Hill farmer explains Snowdon land sell-off

An elderly sheep farmer is issuing a challenge to critics of hill farming by inviting them to buy a one-acre stake in his farm.

Dafydd Morris, 77, who has been farming since he was 15, runs a large flock of ewes on two farms on Snowdon, Wales’ highest mountain.

Mr Morris bought the second farm in 1986 to allow his sons to make a living from the land.

When one of his sons, Geraint, was diagnosed with leukemia he considered selling the holding to pay for him to receive medical treatment in the US. But sadly Geraint passed away two years ago at the age of 40.

Read also: Sheep industry says flocks vital for upland health

Mr Morris revisited the idea of selling 243ha (600 acres) of mountain land after meeting the author and critic of hill farming, George Monbiot, at a meeting in London.

Although he doesn’t necessarily agree with Mr Monbiot’s view that livestock should be removed from upland areas to protect the ecosystem, it prompted a different approach to the sale of the farm.

Mr Morris has given members of the public an opportunity to each purchase an acre of the land. A 45ha (112-acre) block is being offered in its entirety.

“The people of Wales have long been my customers for Welsh lamb, but if they now want to see a change to the way the countryside is maintained in this part of Wales this is an opportunity for them,” Mr Morris explained.

“The government authorities and the public at large wish to see more emphasis being placed on the environment, conservation and wildlife.

“Obviously, most of the money that used to be spent on producing food will, in the future, be directed towards supporting green plans.”

He believes the initiative could enable potential purchasers to fulfill their “environmental, spiritual and financial dreams”.

“Many people would pay a small fortune to have a working holiday on Snowdon, camping with their children perhaps. This is an opportunity for families to participate in wildlife and environmental activities, thereby nurturing plants, and creating shelter for birds and wildlife.”

Another reason Mr Morris has taken this approach is that he doesn’t want the land to be bought by another farmer. “If it was to remain as a farm we would continue farming it ourselves,” he said.

Despite his advancing years, Mr Morris has no plans to give up farming. He will continue to be involved in the running of the home farm, Cefn Coch, with two of his sons, William and John.