General News

Hello from a very wet and windy Penrhiw.  It is certainly wet on the farms now.  The early lambs are braving the weather and are quite happy with the excellent shelter provided by the stone walls.  The youngest ones are still indoors running races around the barn and using the round hay feeder as a trampoline !  They will go out on Sunday when there is a hint of an improvement.  Cows are calving - first time heifers at Penrhiw; more Dylan (the Welsh Black bull) offspring at Cefn Coed.

Markets this weekend - Rhiwbina on Friday, Usk on Sat and Riverside on Sunday

Let's hope Spring will have sprung by the time I write next !


A rushed update - it is SO busy!   Lambing is keeping us on our toes - thank goodness spring has returned and the weather is helping us.  That cold easterly wind was bad news - lambs suffering from wind chill and having to be revived in the Rayburn bottom oven is NOT supposed to happen in April. 

Spring cereal cultivations at Fforest / Cefn Coed  -  the seed was better in the bag last week with the white frost but suddenly it needs to be in the ground yesterday !  All systems GO before the rain next week  

New piglet arrivals too - the first of the ginger Tamworths.  I will put pictures on facebook later.

Have to try and fit market preparations next - Rhiwbina on Friday, Usk on Sat, Riverside on Sunday   ... must go !!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

NFU Cymru president John Davies has expressed fears for the future over the latest UK trade deal with New Zealand
Sheep in market pen

NFU Cymru president John Davies has expressed fears for the future over the latest UK trade deal with New Zealand. more

Empty Shelves in a super market

A new report published by Public Health Wales has warned of the potential impact Brexit, the Coronavirus pandemic and climate change could have on food security in Wales.  more

Painting of apples

Dear Friends,

Yes, it’s apple pressing time again!

And with outdoor gatherings free of Covid restrictions – as long as we’re sensible and don’t breathe down each other’s necks! - I am emboldened to go ahead with my usual apple pressing day here at Llanllowell House next Sunday (October 17th) and an apple pressing demonstration next Saturday (16th) at Usk Farmers’ Market.   Clem and Rosa (my daughter and grand-daughter) will be here for the weekend, so it’s a good chance for a catch-up if you haven’t seen them in a while.  




Apple Pressing Day at Llanllowell House, Sunday October 17th

You are warmly invited to bring your own apples and pears for juicing here next Sunday from 2pm.   Bring your own bottles or pick up a bottle here (plastic for free, glass with screw cap at cost for £1).   Go home with your own fruit juice!  

Or just come along to see how it’s done.

We will also have an expert on hand to show you how to make cider.

We are not providing lunch, but soft drinks, coffee, tea and biscuits will be available, and – er – lots of apple juice!   So bring a picnic if you want to.

The event, as ever, is free.   But donations are requested to support Transition Usk - - helping to promote biodiversity at a time when the UK has just been named and shamed as having the lowest level of biodiversity of any G7 country.

The event will go ahead come rain or shine;   if it rains, we can shelter in the open air Coach House (still technically outdoors), and there will be a log fire to keep us warm and dry.

As well as making juice, you can ramble in 33 acres of woods and meadows, with a stream running through.

There is also access on foot to Gwent Wildlife Trust’s Springdale Farm nature reserve next door - - and you’re welcome to explore their woods and meadows.   

Parking and wheelchair access are available, but please share a car or ride a bike to keep traffic to a minimum.   Give me a shout if you need directions.

Apple Pressing Demonstration at Usk Farmers’ Market, Saturday October 16th

The idea on Saturday is to show how apples and pears can be turned into juice in a matter of minutes, and for you to learn how to do it yourself.   It’s very hands on, and kids – as well as adults – are encouraged to turn the press.  If you bring your own apples and/or pears, you can make juice to take home on the same day.   

You can bring your own bottles to take home, or you can pick up a plastic bottle for free.

What you might want to do is watch the demo on Saturday, and get stuck in with some serious apple and pear pressing on Sunday.

Please note that the Farmers’ Market is now located at the Willows Garden Centre in Usk (  while the Memorial Hall car park is undergoing repairs.


I look forward to seeing you again for my favourite time of year – the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”!

All my best.



Llanllowell House



Monmouthshire NP15 1LL

United Kingdom

Very Welsh rarebit: Two-thirds in Wales haven’t tried the traditional dish
Welsh Rarebit
welsh-rarebit (1).jpg

      A Welsh food historian has warned that some of the British Isles’

       traditional foods are disappearing off the menu, 

      as research showed that two-thirds of people in Wales have

      never tried Welsh rarebit. ... more

Soil Tilling

Opposition parties and farming unions are urging Welsh farmers to have their say on the potential impact of the all-Wales nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs)...see more

Caenarthon Creamery

Wales’ largest farmer-owned dairy co-operative has delivered a record year with operating profits of £3.4 million after selling 15,000 tons of cheese  ...more




Welsh Cheese Awards

The recent Artisan Cheese Awards, held annually in Melton Mowbray, were a chance for our dedicated and talented producers to be recognised for the superb quality of their cheeses. Several of our cheesemakers scooped prestigious awards. Highlights included:


    Russel and Anna Walker have kindly agreed to host the Usk Farmers' Market at The Willows Garden Centre which now includes Just Weigh Usk Shop for your package-free store-cupboard Items.


    • Entering the town over the Usk Bridge
      • Take the first right turn into New Market street and continue keeping to the right when there is an option.  The road narrows into Baron Street which leads directly to the Willows.  The market will be at the far end of the car park.
    • Entering from Bridge Street
      • Turn left immediately before the Bridge, by the Police Station, into New Market Street and proceed as above.
    • From the Memorial Hall Car Park.
      • Travel towards the town on Maryport Street
      • Take the first left into Old Market Street.
      • Continue until the King's Head and keep straight, on Old Market Street, to the end turning left into Baron Street and proceed as above.

    Please ring 07731647020 if you require assistance in finding the Willows Garden Centre.