A unique opportunity to take on a 15-year farm business tenancy has become available at the picturesque Llyndy Isaf, in Nant Gwynant – with the process being filmed for a new Channel 4 show fronted by Matt Baker.

Llyndy Isaf, a 248-hectare (613 acre) hill farm, has been in the care of National Trust Cymru since the charity bought the farm in 2012 after a successful public appeal.

Until 2020, it was run in partnership with the Wales Federation of Young Farmers Clubs (YFC) with five scholars managing the farm.

Since then it has been managed in conjunction with the Trust’s neighbouring farm, Hafod y Llan, now, the conservation charity is ready to let the holding, including a farmhouse and a range of modern and traditional buildings, to a new tenant with farming, nature, and access to the countryside at the heart of their business plan.

Trystan Edwards, General Manager for Eryri, National Trust Cymru said: “It’s a privilege to have a farm in Wales selected for this programme. Llyndy is an incredible landscape, from the shores of Llyn Dinas to the heather clad ridge of Mynydd Llyndy, it holds a special place for nature, people and history.

“Farming has played a defining role here for generations, and over the last 12 years, scholars and farmers have managed it as a sustainable working hill farm. It boasts a range of rich habitats including heath, wet pasture, grassland and woodland, with its heathland being one of our best examples of species-rich heath in Wales and the woodlands forming a part of the Meirionnydd oak woods and bat Special Area of Conservation.”

Llyndy Isaf Farmhouse
Llyndy Isaf Farmhouse (National Trust Images Mike Alexander)

The trust is looking for a tenant with a passion for sustainable farming to continue the legacy.

Trystan continued: “Our ideal tenant would be someone who can see how to run a successful, viable and profitable business but in doing so deliver for the environment by combining sensitive land management and conservation principles with agriculture.

“The successful tenant will take a nature-friendly farming approach to grazing the land, producing good quality food as well as good wildlife habitats. They will increase biodiversity across the farm by extending wood pasture through natural processes, maintain current key habitats, enhancing the heath mosaic, and control invasive species.

“This is an exciting opportunity, especially as this will be the first farm business tenancy we’ve offered since acquiring the farm, so we’re looking for someone who is truly willing to work in partnership with us and support our vision for the future of Llyndy Isaf.”

The process will be a supersized version of the conservation charity’s normal letting process. All shortlisted applicants will be required to take part in a three-week special selection filmed this autumn for Our Dream Farm with Matt Baker, produced by Big Circus Media for Channel 4.

The programme will follow prospective tenants as they demonstrate their approaches to agriculture, learn new skills and complete a series of hands-on tasks and experiences at Llyndy Isaf. At the end of the process, one person or partnership will be chosen as the successful tenant.

Llyndy Isaf, an estate of 600 acres in Snowdonia, in the Nant Gwynant valley near Beddgelert, Gwynedd, Wales.
Overlooking Llyn Dinas and across to Mynydd Llyndy and Moel Y Dyniewyd, within the Llyndy Isaf boundary (©NTPL/Joe Cornish)

Trystan added: “Farming in Wales is going through a period of significant change, and we want to give the public a window into farming as well as engaging with the land managers of tomorrow about how food, the land it’s grown on and the ways it can be produced with nature in mind supports our wider rural economy at the same time as increasing our resilience to the impacts of climate change.

“It also provides an excellent opportunity for us to showcase Wales’ unique culture and how integral farming is for rural communities in Wales.”

Prospective tenants will need to go through an application process, visit the farm, present a business plan and demonstrate they are equipped to take on the tenancy in the same way as any Farm Business Tenancy opportunity with the National Trust.

George Dunn, Chief Executive Tenant Farmer Association (TFA) said; "Llyndy Isaf represents a fantastic opportunity for a progressive farmer or a new entrant.

“With all the land in a ring fence and with opportunities for diversified income, this would be ideal for an entrepreneurial tenant farmer who wants to combine delivering a successful business with nature conservation at its heart.

“However, given the size of the unit and the capital that will be required, the National Trust will have to look at relaxing the break clause provisions to ensure that the incoming tenant has sufficient security for the long term to fund necessary investment in the holding. I was also really pleased to see the National trust moving towards the suggestion made by the TFA that it should set the level of rent for these lettings in its particulars rather than leaving it as an open question. Giving a guide as to the minimum level of rent is a huge step in the right direction".

The eight-episode series is fronted by Matt Baker and produced by Big Circus Media, the company behind the hugely popular ‘Our Farm in the Dales’.

Matt Baker said: “I’m delighted to be continuing our relationship with the National Trust and together educating viewers on the process, passion and concept of Tenant farming and how it fits into our agricultural system.

“Set against the stunning backdrop of Eryri, this second series promises to put UK farming front and centre, highlighting the dedicated work of the National Trust while simultaneously showcasing the fine traditions of Welsh farming.”

Llyndy Isaf was bought in 2012 following a successful campaign to raise £1 million which was backed by Hollywood stars, Matthew Rhys, Ioan Gruffydd and Catherine Zeta Jones.

Zeta Jones said at the time of the appeal: “"The National Trust plays a key role in protecting and managing the Welsh countryside.

"The beauty and landscape of Snowdonia is truly unique and we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to protect Llyndy Isaf in this stunning part of Wales for future generations.

"If we don't act now the threat of commercial development could spoil the tranquillity of this special part of Snowdonia."

The farm was put up for sale by Ken Owen, who retired after 35 years and had no son to carry on his work.

Mr Owen gave the National Trust a year to raise funds as he believed the organisation was best placed to continue his work and manage the farm sensitively in the future, keeping a balance between farming and conservation and allowing people to have quiet enjoyment of the area.

Five tenants have run the farm since its purchase through a scholarship, including Caryl Hughes, Tudur Parry, Owain Jones, Teleri Fielden.

The Llyndy Isaf scholarship came to an end however in 2020 due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The producers of the TV show say they are looking for an individual or couple / partnership who can run a successful, viable and profitable business; has experience and/or qualifications when it comes to working with livestock has a passion for farming in a regenerative sustainable way; is willing to become a tenant who works in a true partnership with the National Trust and can be a successful communicator with the local community and the public

For all information and to apply please visit: www.farmapplication.co.uk

Applications close at midnight on Sunday, 21 April 2024.