She who dares…..farms…
Bryony is a farmer…
But once she just a farmer’s daughter, 4 years ago a sudden illness struck her Dad and the realisation, that our parents are not immortal, meant that this daughter became the farmer.
Llanthony, 250 acres and 600 ewes, sits in the Brecon Beacons bordering England along Offas Dyke. The family of 6 have lived here for 40 years, it is place called home, a place full of heart and community. It is definitely a place to lay your hat.
It is unique, in that it lies within the ruin of Llanthony Abbey, where you will find 2 pubs, a campsite, bunk house and private residences! A community still thrives here, swelling in holidays and high days, but still a community.
To grow up on a farm is such a privilege, a childhood of freedom, roaming and working, add to that a trekking business, this would have been the stuff of childhood dreams! The 4 siblings were schooled locally until secondary, when they won scholarships to Christ’s Hospital, Horsham – a place where you learnt to work hard until all the work was done and only then the fun could begin. This was the same at home, but the work was the horses and the fun was the local pub!
From the heart….
After studying Zoology, Bryony came home for a year of deciding what next and to run the trekking Centre. However the lure of London and the desire to see if the streets were really paved with gold, took Bryony off to the big City, a placed she loved whilst she was there, working as PA to the Head of the CEO office of the Standard Chartered Bank. A successful career was ahead of her, PA’s could go wherever their bosses went, wherever in the world. However, a weekend home, a friend’s party and falling in love with Steve, meant Bryony followed her heart back to Wales.
A job with A-Z Expeditions saw her become an outdoor instructor, a job she loved, then after her babies a job in the Expedition office, which suited her love of the outdoors and her family life.
Llanthony means so much to all the family, and everyone wanted it to stay in the family, for the future generations. With 4 siblings, 1 working away and 2 with other careers, Bryony, who was at cross road, put her hand up – she would come back to farm Llanthony and take over the running from her Dad.
Being handed the reins…
Bryony is lucky, she feels blessed and honoured that her dad has handed over the reins of running the farm, is letting her make her own mark but is there to offer advice. Being the daughter is very different from being the farmer, the one in charge, not just the one being given jobs to do. Decisions are for her to make, with support, and Dad is always on hand to get lambs to market.
Knowledge is power….
Bryony has taken advantage of all the courses, training, clinics and surgeries available to her through organisations such as Farming Connect. She’s received Young Person In Agriculture grant, which she will use to fence off the mountain and buy a new handling system, she has a Management Exchange Grant, which is using to try out early lambing with 3 Performance Recorded Innovis rams, which should bring in a higher return for early lambs and getting culled ewes off farm sooner.
She has a Farming Connect Mentor – Ben Anthony, who’s wisdom of ‘Pick 1 field as a time to improve… it will become easier as half the boundaries will have already been improved”! This has given her a plan, and reduced the stress.
The day before I met her, she had been on a Soil Surgery, learning about getting the basics of soil pH, and benefits of P & K for the soil and how to implement them.
Motivation is what you need…
Getting off the farm, attending learning days, going to market and meeting like-minded people is the motivation that Bryony needs, especially on those days that there is little to be had! A phone book that is getting fuller and a range of people to ask for advice and help or just a chat has been key for her new career. Never one to shy away from hard work, running the farm has given her a new sense of motivation and a stronger work ethic, as this time it is for her and her family, to get it right. Where obstacles lay, such as dagging, she came up with a solution, which will become even easier with the new handling system.
Just do it!
You’ve got to throw yourself into everything! Take advantage of all the learning and new experiences out there, then bring back these new skills and ideas to the farm. Meet new people, take part in challenges, get out the comfort zone.
Did I say I met Bryony whilst carrying a cow to the top of Snowdon….. (BG – I LOVED this trip!x)
She who Dares… most definitely farms!