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Local farmer, Steve Forsyth, has been rearing sheep in the Brecon Beacons for over 30 years. One of his rams was Reserve Male Champion at the Royal Welsh Show in 2017, and was Male Champion and received the top retail price for a ram at the last annual Black Welsh Mountain Society Breed Sale.

His Farm Assured flock is two different breeds:

On the Farm

The Royal Welsh Show Winter Fair Taste Awards…

The Royal Welsh Winter Fair Taste Awards offer an opportunity to showcase various specialty product from across Wales. Following the success and exposure gained at the 2018 Winter Fair, the award was run again, this time with a class for Native Lamb breeds of Wales.

The aim the award is to promote all the Native Welsh breeds of Lamb and to encourage more interest in the different tastes between the various Welsh breeds, with a hope to marketing Welsh lamb as a premium product. To participate, lambs had to have been born, bred and reared in Wales.

So it's great to see that the winning entry was Black Welsh Mountain lamb, bred by Steve Forsyth. Well done Steve and great publicity for all Black Welsh Mountain breeders.

The Royal Welsh Winter Fair

Steve Forsyth
with his

Along with producing our tasty lamb at Cefn Fedw Ganol much of the year is taken up with contracting, specifically hedge laying and fencing. I specialise in traditional hedge laying which fits in to the farm ethos of using low intensity methods and minimal chemical and medicinal inputs. I have been hedge laying for over 30 years and this includes a, still standing, 24 yr old World Record for laying 307m of hedge in 12 hours, completed with Lewis Stephens.

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While the fencing work is a year-long job, the hedging is restricted by a number of regulations and can only take place between September and March. These are related to the age, length and situation of a particular hedge. Over 70% of the UK’s hedges are deemed to be ‘important’ and are under restrictions. There are various stewardship schemes and grants that can assist with funding hedge laying, including small business grants and the Glastir scheme. However even with these schemes I have found that over the last few years we are down from 10,000m per year to only 5000m per year. I cover approximately a 50 mile radius with the contracting work.

Hedging is a traditional method of providing a fence or boundary to a field. There are various styles of hedge laying based on the regions around the UK. I use the Brecknockshire style with either crop & pleach or stake & pleach.  When we are laying a hedge, we are looking to make it livestock proof and it also gives a wide range of wild life and environment to live, feed, nest and travel. This includes birds, mammals and insects.

The main trees used, in our area, in traditional hedge-laying are hazel, hawthorn, ash, birch, red cherry, blackthorn and mountain ash. The aim is to regenerate the hedge, bringing new to the hedge, make it stock proof, looking good and providing a great habitat for the wildlife. Once relayed a hedge should last 15-20 years, with regular trimming, before it needs relaying again.

It is so important to continue this tradition of hedge laying as it is environmentally friendly, encourages wildlife and provides a lovely landscape to look at.

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Beacons Welsh Lamb
Cefn Fedw Ganol,
Heol Senni,
Powys
LD3
8ST

Telephone: 07968 632754
Email: steve@beaconswelshlamb.wales

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