Welsh shepherd begins farming £1m farm which he rents for just £1/year

A Welsh shepherd has began farming a £1m (€1.16m) farm on the Great Orme headland in north Wales, for just £1 (€1.16) a year.

Dan Jones, from Anglesey in Wales, will be tasked with taking a ‘nature-first approach’ to farming the Great Orme.

The land, which was purchased by the Welsh National Trust last year, was put up for lease earlier this year.

Jones, a 38-year-old sheep farmer and shepherd, will farm the 145ac Parc Farm while also grazing some 720ac of coastal headland. 

He will be joined by wife Ceri, son Efan and five working sheepdogs on the new farm, while one of his first actions as the new tenant was to buy a new flock which was financed by the conservation charity Plantlife.

My wife Ceri, son Efan and I are just super excited. This opportunity will change our lives.

“Y Parc is a dream farm, it is such a beautiful location, the views are amazing, and I’m really looking forward to farming in a different way to make a difference for nature,” he said.

In order to take up the new tenancy, the Jones family had to move house, sign their son up to a new school, close their B&B business, sell their own flock of 1,000 sheep and finish up three tenancies on the island of Anglesey.

An appeal for a farmer to help protect the landscape of the area, which is home to some species which are unique to that area, was made in May.

The £1 tenancy sparked international interest, with calls coming in at a rate of more than 100 an hour for days afterwards, according to the National Trust.

The Welsh National Trust is convinced that the Jones family have the right combination of skills and experience to manage Parc Farm, according to William Greenwood, National Trust General Manager

Whittling down the applicants to the very best was an exhaustive task, but Dan and his wife Ceri absolutely stood out from the crowd.

What the National Trust is doing at the Great Orme forms part of its plan to nurse the natural environment back to health and reverse the alarming decline in wildlife across the UK.

The National Trust vision aims to reverse the alarming decline in wildlife, 60% in the past 50 years, and find long-term solutions to help nurse the countryside back to health.

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