Gilfach Wen is a working farm with a strong emphasis placed on working with nature. The farm is managed under an Countryside Council for Wales scheme called "Tir Gofal" where the focus is placed on farming in an environmentally friendly way and managing the land for bio diversity and the benefit of wildlife.
The animals are not kept in pens near the yard for the entertainment of guests. They have as natural a lifestyle as possible out grazing throughout the year, sometimes they are in the fields near the barn.
The flock of Soay sheep are a rare breed, They are the closest to the type of sheep farmed in the Iron Age, 6000 BC. They produce very lean meat similar to venison, are horned and have fleeces ranging between fawn and black. Both meat and sheepskins are available to order. The sheep have been managed to organic principles for the last 7 years. I do offer meat for sale, or can provide prepared meals using meat from the the soay flock.
I have a small flock of ex battery hens. Eggs can be supplied for guests if required.
The goats are. nicknamed the weed wipers, they are used to graze in fields where I want to increase the range of grasses. Goats prefer to eat weeds to grass, so by using them to intensively graze an area the weeds can be brought under control. The herd we have are breeding stock, but as they mature their male offspring will go for meat.
The Harry and Sally are saddleback pigs, another traditional breed which provides full flavour meat. The pigs are helping control the bracken on the banks which are too steep for tractors to work on as well as producing piglets so that we can provide home reared bacon and sausages for breakfast and pork chops for the BBQ.
Included in week long bookings is a tour of the farm, (with an optional quiz afterwards for family groups looking to keep the children occupied.). Groups staying for shorter breaks can also take the tour for a small charge. The tour with time to meet each animal, feed some by hand, and learn about them takes 2 to 3 hours. It has to be fitted in around daylight hours and other work around the farm, so the schedule will be set by mutual agreement.
There is a cat on the farm who is supposed to live in the hay barn. She can be timid so its best to let her decide if she wants to be picked up. She will make her decision quite clear to you.
Shiva, my collie, informs me that no website talking about the animals on the farm would be complete without mentioning him. He loves to train guests on the art of throwing a ball as part of a game of fetch. Or playing football with a group of children. He would like to convince you to throw sticks for him if there isn't a ball to hand but for his safety please don't listen to him. Meanwhile Lucy the rescue dog on the farm will ask for a fuss.
In addition to my own horses, I do from time to time take in lame horses being returned to soundness by being kept barefoot, (without horseshoes) . Separate paddocks are reserved for visiting horses.