Young farmer moves to the home of the Welsh Red Dragon

Caryl Hughes (23), a young farmer from Wales, and her eight-year old dog Mist have moved into Llyndy Isaf farm, home to the legendary red dragon of Wales, in the first ever National Trust Llyndy Isaf scholarship.

Caryl Hughes and her dog Mist move in to Llyndy Isaf. Credit Keith Morris

Caryl Hughes and her dog Mist move in to Llyndy Isaf. Credit Keith Morris

Caryl, from Dyffryn Ceiriog, near Llangollen, beat stiff competition from fellow Wales Young Farmers members to win the opportunity to farm and care for the extraordinary 614-acre upland farm in Snowdonia for 12 months [1].

Her key aims will be managing and caring for the landscape and looking after 10 of the Trust’s breeding Welsh black cows and approximately 250 hardy Welsh mountain ewes.

The farm, Llyndy Isaf, on the shores of Llyn Dinas lake near Beddgelert drew international attention in 2011 when a million pound fundraising appeal to rescue this important and special landscape was spearheaded by Welsh Hollywood actor Matthew Rhys and supported by Catherine Zeta Jones [2].

Caryl said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I intend to take full advantage of.
“It’s not every day you get the chance to farm a 614-acre farm, especially not at the age of 23 and especially if you are female.

“I’m a bit nervous of taking on Llyndy; it is a daunting challenge but I’m really excited about it and all the new experiences and opportunities I’m going to get over the next year.
“I’m really looking forward to working with the National Trust and getting to know the whole team and all of its work – especially in agriculture.

“My priorities will be to re-establish a flock here with good grazing management to retain this natural environment around us. That’s Llyndy’s unique quality and challenge all in one.
“Over the next few weeks I will also be sorting out the boundary fences and organising contractors to help do some of the work.

“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.”

The stunning landscape at Lyndy Isaf - home for Caryl Hughes. Credit Keith Morris

The scholarship was organised in partnership with the Wales Federation of Young Farmers Clubs (YFC) [3] and aims to encourage the next generation of farmers.

Over the year, Caryl will be mentored by National Trust’s farm manager Arwyn Owen at the neighbouring farm at Hafod y Llan with help and support coming from the Trust’s Snowdonia team.

Trystan Edwards, National Trust General Manager for Snowdonia and Llyn, said: “Llyndy Isaf is nestled in stunning Nant Gwynant, with views of lakes, woodlands, heath and mountains, leading to Snowdon itself. The land has been farmed since man arrived into the valley thousands of years ago, with generations leaving their mark. When you look around at the spectacular scenery it is no wonder that thousands of people contributed towards its purchase.

“Through the scholarship we will be helping a new generation of farmers to focus on not only meat production but conversation, access, land enhancement and balance this with a plethora of farming experiences.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for a young farmer to experience what it is like to run an upland farm, particularly due to the terrain and tricky weather conditions.

“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.”

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