A 23-year-old farmer has been given the chance to run a 248ha upland farm in Snowdownia after winning a unique scholarship.
Caryl Hughes from Dyffryn Ceiriog, near Llangollen, beat off stiff competition to win the opportunity to farm Llyndy Isaf, on the shores of Llyn Dinas near Beddgelert for 12 months from September.
The farm drew international attention in 2011 when £1m appeal to rescue it was spearheaded by Welsh Hollywood actor Matthew Rhys and supported by Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Back in March, young farmers were then invited to apply for a scholarship to run the business, which was organised in partnership with the Wales Federation of Young Farmers Clubs (YFC) and aims to encourage the next generation of farmers.
The successful candidate will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the farm and will be supported by National Trust and Wales YFC staff
“It’s not every day you get the chance to farm a 248ha farm, especially not at the age of 23 and especially if you are female.”
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I intend to take full advantage of,” said Caryl.
“It’s not every day you get the chance to farm a 248ha farm, especially not at the age of 23 and especially if you are female.
“The scholarship appealed to me because it was a type of farming that I am familiar with and I’m eager to learn more about. I enjoy the variation that farming offers – from being out on the mountain in rain and thunder to sorting out paperwork. In my opinion everyone should see that farming is really important – without farming we have no food for the country.”
Caryly said her priorities would be to re-establish a sheep flock, with good grazing management to retain the natural environment on the farm.
“Ultimately, I’d like to think that someone else will offer me an amazing job with a massive big farm at the end of it. I’m sure I will look back on the scholarship with pride, and the skills and experience I gain will live with me forever.”
Caryl Hughs and the farm’s former owner Ken Owens.
Jonny Williams, rural affairs chairman Wales YFC, said: “The Llyndy Scholarship is a unique and innovative opportunity, groundbreaking within the agricultural industry. I am extremely confident that Caryl will be an outstanding candidate and role model for all young farmers throughout Wales and beyond.
“I would like to thank the National Trust for providing Wales YFC members with this opportunity for years to come at Llyndy Isaf.”
Trystan Edwards, National Trust general manager for Snowdonia and Llyn, said: “We are all really looking forward to working with and mentoring Caryl over the next 12 months, to help build her confidence and skills in stock management, business, and practical management through formal and informal training as well as work experience.”
Caryl is a farmer’s daughter and a graduate of Aberystwyth University where she studied agriculture and animal science.
As part of the course, Caryl went to live and work in New Zealand in her third year -working on both dairy and sheep farms.
(Photography: Aled Llewellyn, Athena Picture Agency/National Trust)
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