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Pigs and Other Progress at Wilder Pentwyn Farm

Tamworth pigs at Pentwyn credit: Radnorshire Wildlife Trust

Radnorshire Wildlife Trust’s exciting new Wilder Pentwyn project began at the start of September, funded for two years through The National Lottery Heritage Fund. The project focuses on sharing the Trust’s ambitious vision for natures recovery at Pentwyn Farm, near Llanbister and throughout the wider landscape. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, a Pentwyn Project Officer has been recruited with the focus of promoting access to the site, facilitating community and volunteer involvement, working with local landowners, and promoting sustainable land use.

The Wilder Pentwyn project will now enable activity to accelerate on site, including the delivery of inspiring community events, experiences, and training workshops. One project target is to set up a local farm cluster group. The aim of the farm cluster is that Radnorshire Wildlife Trust (RWT) will serve as a facilitator, represented by people from across the wider landscape area. The cluster will bring in collective monitoring and meet outcomes for ‘public goods’ (e.g., for soil health, water quality, soil organic carbon – key deliverables for the Sustainable Farming Scheme). RWT will also provide wildlife monitoring, training, support for farm calculations (e.g., carbon), flood management, showcase approaches, and organise visits to other sites which are demonstrating nature friendly farming methods and viable options for sustainable land use and diversification.

RWT are excited to bring in Hywel Morgan from Plantlife to support the delivery of the farm cluster events. Hywel farms at Esgairllaethdy Myddfai in the Western end of the Bannau Brycheiniog. He is the current Chair of Nature Friendly Farming Network Cymru, a Plantlife Cymru Agriculture Advisor, Farming Connect Mentor, British Wool Carmarthenshire Committee Member and Chair of a Community Council. RWT looks forward to sharing his journey towards regenerative agriculture.

Hywel Morgan, Plantlife Cymru Agriculture Advisor: “Working with nature, not against it, is my passion. My farm’s conversion to organic started this year and I am practising some regenerative agriculture principles. I farm 400 ewes and 40 sucklers on 230 acres of land with grazing rights on the adjoining common. Both cattle and sheep graze on the common on a typical hefted system. The cattle use virtual fencing collars.”

RWT announces other exciting progress with the introduction of two Tamworth pigs on-site at Pentwyn Farm, bringing local farmer, George, onboard as the Trust’s latest grazier. The pigs will play an important role in the extensive grazing system at Pentwyn. They will act as ecological proxies for their ancestor, the wild boar. The grazing, rootling and browsing of large herbivores is essential to create disturbance and keep ecosystems in their most biodiverse state. However, it is also crucial that overgrazing is avoided, and a balance is maintained in order to allow natural processes to develop and nature to thrive.

George Morgan, local livestock producer: “I signed up to trial the pigs at Pentwyn farm after an interesting conversation about regenerative farming. I was interested to see them in action and the benefits they could bring. We have seen how regenerative farming, done well, can capture carbon through encouraging and ensuring good soil health through measures such as rotational grazing using different herbal leys and agricultural practices such as minimum or no till.”

George added: “Sustainable food production working with nature, which delivers carbon capture, flood reduction and more wildlife is key to the future. By working through Wilder Pentwyn I hope to show that good quality products can be produced, while achieving more for nature and climate, in a sustainable way, giving consumers a high-quality product that they can be sure has invested in a local area and positive action.”

RWT encourages people to keep an eye on the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust website for project updates and events at Pentwyn Farm. If you are a landowner in Radnorshire and are interested in being contacted about events, training opportunities and shared learning about nature friendly farming methods, then please get in touch with the Pentwyn Project Officer, Chloe via: [email protected]

RWT has been working hard to repay the £1.5 million loan used to purchase Pentwyn Farm. The Trust has successfully raised 80% of the target, with just £300,000 left to raise. If you would like to support the Wilder Pentwyn Appeal, donate here.