North West Wales

National Trust chooses Caryl Hughes to run Snowdonia £1m farm

Caryl Hughes with Llyndy Isaf's former owner Ken Owen
Image caption Caryl Hughes with Llyndy Isaf's former owner Ken Owen

A 23-year-old young farmer has been given the keys to a £1m farm in Snowdonia as part of a one-year scholarship.

Caryl Hughes, of Dyffryn Ceiriog, near Llangollen, was chosen to manage 600-acre Llyndy Isaf in Gwynedd with help from the National Trust (NT).

She said her success might encourage more women to apply next year.

National Trust bought the farm after a fundraising campaign backed by Matthew Rhys and Catherine Zeta Jones.

The campaign to buy the property in the Nant Gwynant valley, which includes the Llyn Dinas lake, was the trust's biggest countryside appeal since its drive to save Snowdon more than a decade ago.

About 20,000 people helped to raise £1m to save the farm in under eight months after it was put on the market by the former owner.

'Passionate'

Farmer's daughter Ms Hughes, who studied agriculture and animal science at Aberystwyth University, was unveiled as the farm manager at the Royal Welsh Show in Llanelwedd, Powys.

"I graduated from Aberystwyth last year and I've been working in a hotel. But it's not what I want to do - it's not what I'm passionate about," she said.

Her year managing the Snowdonia farm will help her decide if she wants to become a full-time farmer.

"I'm quite passionate about agriculture and I'm not afraid of a challenge, that's the main thing," she added.

She said she hoped she was setting a trend for more women to apply for the scholarship next year.

'Lifetime opportunity'

But she confessed to being "slightly apprehensive about starting" her new role.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I intend to take full advantage of," she said.

"It's not every day you get the chance to farm a 614-acre farm, especially not at the age of 23 and especially if you are female."

Image caption Caryl Hughes will manage the farm and its 600 acres

Ms Hughes starts her new job in September.

To be eligible for the Llyndy Isaf Scholarship, candidates had to be members of Wales Young Farmers' Clubs (YFC) and aged between 18-26.

Wales YFC rural affairs chairman Jonathan Williams said: "Having sat on the interview panel I can safely say that the standard of applicant for the scholarship was extremely high and I have every confidence that this year's Llyndy scholar is one very capable young woman starting out on her career in the Welsh agricultural industry."

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