Download this document as a printable PDF file. (Right click and ‘save file as…’ to save to your computer)
Penlanlas is restoring 2160 metres of hedgerow as part of the Tir Gofal scheme. Hedgerows are important habitats in their own right. They are especially important for butterflies and moths, farmland birds, bats and dormice and are essential refuge for a great many woodland and farmland plants and animals. Hedgerows may also act as wildlife corridors for many species, including reptiles and amphibians, allowing dispersal and movement between other habitats and providing valuable foraging areas. Since 1945 there has been a drastic loss of hedgerows through removal and neglect throughout the UK. The net loss of hedgerows in Wales between 1984 and 1993 was estimated to be 25%. Although the rate of direct removal has slowed down, the loss of hedges due to general neglect is accelerating. The length of surviving hedges in Wales is estimated to be not more than 49,000 kms.
The main reasons for the loss of hedgerows are: Neglect (no cutting or laying) leading to hedgerows changing into lines of trees and the development of gaps. This reflects modern high labour costs and loss of traditional skills. Too frequent and badly timed cutting leading to poor habitat conditions, the development of gaps and probable species changes. Loss of hedgerow trees through senescence and felling, without encouraging replacements. Use of herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers right up to the bases of hedgerows leading to nutrient enrichment and a decline in species diversity. Increased stocking rates, particularly of sheep, leading to hedgerow damage and the need to fence fields. The presence of fences reduces the agricultural necessity for hedge maintenance and so hastens their decline. The modern practice of “ranching” (placing netting around several fields to form a grazing block) also contributes to the deterioration of internal hedges). Removal for agricultural and development purposes.
Unimproved flower rich grasslands are now very rare. Over the past 50 years it is estimated that 98% of hay meadow habitats have been destroyed, mainly through agricultural intensification in the form of ploughing, high level fertiliser input and unsustainable heavy levels of grazing.
Water sources for the Golf course, other than rainfall, are from a natural spring located on the Estate, above the course. The spring flows in to a lake created artificially on the former farm, under the FWAG scheme 1989. This scheme was an environmental scheme designed to create wetland habitat, with a secondary objective of making water available for irrigation. A video exists of the construction of this lake; and has been shown in the past on the TV program “Country File”. This lake overflows to existing watercourses. Water from the lake is fed by gravity to a pump, filtered through a sand filter, and then applied as needed to the greens. Fairways are not irrigated. Because of the mechanism, we do not have a way of recording water use. However, all water is natural and after application finds its way back to the aquifer. Water sources to the club house are from a borehole. All water utilised within the club house goes to a septic tank, and then to a soak away.
The objective is to maintain a healthy sward on the greens through applying preventive measures, to avoid the need for curative responses. This is achieved by routine aeration and scarifying. This minimises any turf disease to eliminate any chemical control required. Aeration is produced by use of a mechanical solid tine attachment to the compact tractor, and scarifying by a unit fitted to a greens mower. For the greens only, careful measurement and application of fertiliser in slow release form, minimises any flush of grass growth therefore reducing the risk of fungal disease. There are two applications of slow release fertiliser – first: Spring and Summer made in April; second: Autumn/Winter made in September. The fertiliser is applied when natural rainfall is imminent rather than use of irrigation. Irrigation is only used in periods of drought, with water sourced from the Estates’ natural spring. The application rate is 3grams per square meter. This is measured out in to exact quantities for the size of each green, labelled, then applied carefully across each green. Grass clippings are only taken off greens and are used as mulch around established trees. All other areas, including fairways, trees and rough, are subject to regular cutting and the grass is left to mulch in situ.
Penlanlas applies a strict recycling programme. The plan is applicable to the course, club house, restaurant and farm. Litter bins are available and all contents are sorted out into – plastic, tins, glass and paper for re-cycling. We take all these separations to the municipal re-cycling facilities. Water cooking oil is stored and collected for recycling for bio-fuel.
Grass cutting machines are cleaned down with air lines. Twice yearly they are washed down on porous area and any grass collected and stored in traditional muck heap (compost) area for use on the farm. Items are stored separately and securely, away from any public access. Records of usage and amounts recorded. Materials for use on the course are only purchased in the quantities required.
Environmental issues are communicated to staff and public by the promotional “Penlanlas Handbook” and through educational leaflets. Information on the site is made available by personal introduction and/or mail from the Proprietor and aides, to a wide range of organisations such as Schools, Colleges, County Council, and Environmental groups.
All institutional and other users are encouraged to provide feedback on their visits. Attached are copies of the Penlanlas handbook, which includes invitation letters, and booking and feedback forms. Also attached are the Penlanlas leaflet and promotional flier.
Educational access to environmental areas is open to golfers and non-golfers as well as catering for the disabled. Signage is in place along access routes and is continually being improved. Educational groups can be guided or on their own. The proprietor, Mark Lloyd, often accompanies these groups. In 2008, Penlanlas had visits from Coleg Ceredigion College, The Ramblers, Parkinson’s Group, Women’s Institute, Merched Y Wawr. We have regular open days held at Penlanlas. Most recently we have hosted the following:
There are speakers from each organisation. In addition, we host charity events on the Golf. Already in 2009 we hosted the local Golf Society. 150 persons raised £1,500 for special needs (local school) and deserved causes within the community. Several other events for example the Parkinson’s Group, the County Eisteddfod are already arranged for 2009
In order to comply with the requirements of Tir Gofal, the estate, which includes the Golf course, has to have a minimum of six educational visits a year; providing an opportunity to show the public wildlife, and the benefits and mechanisms of farming for wildlife through agri-environment schemes.
Penlanlas engages with the following organisations:
Download An Introduction to Penlanlas Farm this document as a printable PDF file. (Right click and ‘save file as…’ to save to your computer). PDF includes photographs.
The 74 hectares (182 acres) of Penlanlas Farm lie a short distance to the south of Aberystwyth in North Ceredigion. The farm lies on high ground above the Afon Ystwyth River, its rolling pastures rising to an elevation of 117 metres. The Farm consists of 50 hectares of grazing, 9 hectares of woodland, wetland and streamside corridors, and 4 hectares of soft fruits. Some 11 hectares has been utilised for the creation of a Golf Course. The livestock on the farm consists of summer grazing welsh black cattle, and winter grazing welsh ewes.
Penlanlas is run by the Lloyd family and has been a family business since the 1940’s. It is run and managed by husband and wife team Mark and Suzanne Lloyd. There is one full time employee who works all year round, and casual staff at peak times.
Summer Opening hours are 10am – 7pm. Out of hour’s visits are possible when arranged in advance. Please contact Penlanlas to arrange a convenient time.
The year begins with preparing the polytunnels and planting strawberries to produce an early crop, from mid May to mid June.
Managing the strawberry crop.
Soft Fruits and potatoes are planted outdoors. Planting up new hedgerows with blackthorn, haythorn and hazel. Fencing done by contraction. Sheep are moved off the farm in accordance with the Grazing Agreement.
Golf course maintenance starts now and is necessary throughout the year until December, consisting of greens management and mowing.
In accordance with the Farm Grazing Agreement, no stock grazes the farm during April. Strawberries are planted under cover, to crop mid June to mid July.
Welsh Black cattle are introduced to the farm for summer grazing at a set stocking level. Soft fruits maintenance. The first pick of strawberries are picked to be sold locally and in the Farm Shop. With each polytunnel capable of producing one tonne of strawberries, it’s the start of a busy summer fruit picking!
Soft fruits maintenance. Fruit picking. The Pick Your Own Farm opens to the public. Strawberries are planted under cover for a late crop from mid August to mid September.
July / August / September
Golf course maintenance. Soft Fruits maintenance. Pick Your Own Farm open to the public.
Golf course maintenance. Cattle are moved off the farm . Sheep are grazed over the winter period at a set stocking level.
Golf course maintenance. Soft Fruits are pruned to encourage new growth for next year.
General overall management.A busy time of year for the Golf Club House with Christmas functions.
Grazing has been reduced and fertiliser application ceased on the majority of the land to encourage and develop a more herb rich flora. Improved pasture is being converted to semi-improved acid hay meadow through taking a late hay crop each year. Stock will be excluded from woodland to encourage natural regeneration to take place
Penlanlas Farm is situated four miles south of Aberystwyth, overlooking the Ystwyth Valley. The total land area is 182 acres and comprises of woodland on the lower steeper slopes and pasture on the remaining. Penlanlas has been in the Lloyd family for the past sixty years and was typical of the mixed livestock farms in the area. In the 1980’s it was decided to diversify into Pick Your Own soft fruit, growing a range of fruit to include strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, black, white and red currants. The Pick Your Own is open during the summer season but we now also pick fruit to order supplying shops, restaurants, etc. Preserves are also made here by “Cegin Suzanne” using traditional methods, with an open pan family recipe, and made in small batches using fresh fruit from the farm.
In 1993 Penlanlas opened a 9-hole golf course. The course measures 4119 yards and is open to all on a pay as you play basis. Membership is also available for people living locally. In the development of the golf course 4000 broadleaved trees have been planted along with the creation of 4 lakes in natural wet spots thus creating an abundance of habitat for a wide variety of animal and bird life. Penlanlas Golf Club House was opened in 2007 offering refreshments for people visiting the farm. Private functions and conferences are also catered for. Educational groups visiting Penlanlas are permitted to use the facilities within the golf course clubhouse during visits. During the season we have a Farm Shop where produce grown on the farm is sold. The remaining farmland is rented out and grazed by sheep and Welsh Black cattle on an eleven-month grazing agreement.
In order to enhance wildlife habitat and amenity value on the farm Penlanlas Farm has joined the Tir Gofal Environmental Scheme with the following key objectives in mind:
Unimproved / Semi-Improved Grasslands
Allowing these grasslands to develop a more herb rich flora of native plants. Typical native plants of acid soil are Heath Bedstraw, Sheep’s Sorrel, Tormentil and Lousewort.
Improved pasture to be converted to semi-improved acid hay meadow, and pasture. Annual hay cropping gradually lowers the nutrient levels within the sward, reducing the dominance of species typical of improved pasture and allows the establishment of native species and eventual restoration of flower-rich meadow.
Encourage natural regeneration to take place in the broadleaved woodland. The mature woodlands hold a canopy of oak and ash, with sycamore and beech. The understorey is hazel, hawthorn and blackthorn. New native broadleaved woodland to be established creating a copse to increase woodland cover, providing cover adjacent to the wildlife seed crop, and providing an educational resource.
To establish 140 m of corridor along a small tributary of the Afon Ystwyth, to allow the vegetation to regenerate naturally. This encourages the development of a diverse wildlife habitat and the growth of native trees, shrubs and tall vegetation along streamsides. This will create new wildlife habitat, providing cover for animals such as Water Vole and Otters.
Wildlife Cover Crop
To create a winter food source for wildlife; Bittern Kale, Quinoa, Linseed and Wheat. Mature hedgerow cover is present nearby for wildlife using the crop as a
food source. Provides nest sites as well as feeding areas for birds such as Partridge, Yellowhammer, Linnet and Tree Sparrow. Provides cover for Brown Hare.Provides an educational and recreational resource, by showing the public the wildlife and the benefits and mechanisms of farming for wildlife through agri-environment schemes.
To restore 2160m of hedgerows. Field boundaries define the landscape and are vitally important to wildlife, benefiting plants and wild flowers, small mammals and birds as well as insects. The strip of land adjacent to hedges, walls and banks is left uncultivated to encourage the presence of wildlife and provide natural habitat.
A small orchard has been established on the farm using traditional, native varieties of fruit trees of local provenance, adding to the variety of habitats on the farm. Establishing this new landscape feature will be of value to a wide range of wildlife.
A path with disabled access to the Penbanc Viewpoint. Permissive path allows access to areas of the wildlife cover crop. Access area around the small lake and adjacent areas of interest. The path starts from Penlanlas Golf Club and runs adjacent to the soft fruit enterprise, before entering 7 acres of ground cover consisting of biennial Bittern Kale, Quinoa, Linseed and Wheat. This area provides a winter food source for wildlife and habitat for numerous birds. Beyond the cover crop the walk leads to Penbanc, the highest point on the farm where the view is breath taking. From this point 7 old Welsh Counties can be seen. Pembrokeshire to the South, Gwynedd to the North and Montgomeryshire Hills to the East. Immediately below the Viewpoint is a man made lake with wetlands to the North, providing an abundance of insect life, wild birds and frequented by otters
Within Wales there is a wide range of different habitats. It is important to conserve this resource, and Penlanlas is making great efforts towards this by following the environmental objectives as recommended by Tir Gofal.
Some typical habitats on Penlanlas:
Home to Woodpeckers, Buzzards, Kites and a large range of smaller birds. Fungi, lichens and mosses.
Gorse, Hawthorn, Blackthorn and Rowan. The complex rigid structure of gorse bushes is a noted habitat for spiders.
Reed Beds, Ferns and Swamps
Providing a rich and diverse habitat for toads, frogs, snipe, moor hens, ducks, insects, newts, butterflies, dragonflies to name but a few.
The newly established orchard will add a variety of habitats to the farm, and provide cover for birds. Fallen and pruned timber is stacked within the orchard to provide natural cover.
Arable (Cover Crop) Land
Provides nest sites as well as feeding areas for birds such as Partridge, Yellowhammer, Linnet and Tree sparrow. Provides food and winter cover for insects and other invertebrates.
Sky Larks, Hares.
Ponds & Lake
An essential habitat for many species of animals and plants, including the increasingly rare amphibians – the frogs, toads and newts.
Otters are a good indicator of clean water, free from pollutants.
Almost all groups of animals may be found in a hedge, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and many invertebrates.
You can roughly work out the date of any hedge by using a formula.
1.Choose a 30-metre length of hedge.
2.Count the number of species of trees and shrubs you find in it.
3.Multiply the number of species by 100.
The answer is the approximate age of the hedge.
Penlanlas is restoring 2160 metres of hedgerow as part of the Tir Gofal scheme.
Hedgerows are important habitats in their own right. They are especially important for butterflies and moths, farmland birds, bats and dormice and are essential refuge for a great many woodland and farmland plants and animals. Hedgerows may also act as wildlife corridors for many species, including reptiles and amphibians, allowing dispersal and movement between other habitats and providing valuable foraging areas.
Since 1945 there has been a drastic loss of hedgerows through removal and neglect throughout the UK. The net loss of hedgerows in Wales between 1984 and 1993 was estimated to be 25%. Although the rate of direct removal has slowed down, the loss of hedges due to general neglect is accelerating. The length of surviving hedges in Wales is estimated to be not more than 49,000 kms.
The main reasons for the loss of hedgerows are:
Neglect (no cutting or laying) leading to hedgerows changing into lines of trees and the development of gaps. This reflects modern high labour costs and loss of traditional skills.
Too frequent and badly timed cutting leading to poor habitat conditions, the development of gaps and probable species changes.
Loss of hedgerow trees through senescence and felling, without encouraging replacements.
Use of herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers right up to the bases of hedgerows leading to nutrient enrichment and a decline in species diversity.
Increased stocking rates, particularly of sheep, leading to hedgerow damage and the need to fence fields. The presence of fences reduces the agricultural necessity for hedge maintenance and so hastens their decline. The modern practice of “ranching” (placing netting around several fields to form a grazing block) also contributes to the deterioration of internal hedges).
Removal for agricultural and development purposes.
Unimproved flower rich grasslands are now very rare. Over the past 50 years it is estimated that 98% of haymeadow habitats have been destroyed, mainly through agricultural intensification in the form of ploughing, high level fertiliser input and unsustainable heavy levels of grazing.
All Students and staff should wash their hands after any contact with animals using soap and hot water. Young children should be supervised and helped to ensure their hands are thoroughly cleaned.
Be prepared for changes in the weather by bringing the appropriate clothing and footwear for wet and windy weather. Remember to use sun block when out in the sun. A farmer will normally leave a gate closed to keep livestock in, but may sometimes leave it open so they can reach food and water. Leave gates as you find them or follow instructions on signs. If walking in a group, make sure the last person knows how to leave the gates. In fields where crops are growing, follow the paths wherever possible. Use gates, stiles or gaps in field boundaries when provided – climbing over walls, hedges and fences can damage them and increase the risk of farm animals escaping.
Leave machinery and livestock alone – don’t interfere with animals even if you think they’re in distress. Try to alert the farmer instead.
Litter and leftover food doesn’t just spoil the beauty of the countryside, it can be dangerous to wildlife and farm animals and can spread disease – so take your litter home with you. Dropping litter and dumping rubbish are criminal offences.
Discover the beauty of the natural environment and take special care not to damage, destroy or remove features such as rocks, plants and trees. They provide homes and food for wildlife, and add to everybody’s enjoyment of the countryside.
Wild animals and farm animals can behave unpredictably if you get too close, especially if they’re with their young – so give them plenty of space.
Fires can be as devastating to wildlife and habitats as they are to people and property – so be careful not to drop a match or smouldering cigarette at any time of the year.
Keep dogs under close control.
Enjoy the countryside and respect its life and work.
Download An Introduction to Penlanlas Farm this document as a printable PDF file. (Right click and ‘save file as…’ to save to your computer). PDF includes photographs.