Laura Pollock

Lower House Farm, Monmouthshire, Torfaen & Blaenau Gwent


Lower House Farm occupies 114 acres at the bottom of the Wentwood Hills in Llanfair Discoed, Monmouthshire. Historically a dairy farm, it is now being used for mixed livestock mostly calf rearing and breeding ewes. The Monmouthshire County Council farm is run and managed by Matt Brooks and Laura Pollock, new entrant farmers looking to diversify the business in a number of different directions. In addition to the above, they have other animals including highland cows, belted galloways, goats, sheep, chickens and pigs. These are used for local engagement and educational events hosted on the farm to enhance people’s awareness and appreciation for agriculture and food production in Wales.

Increasing biodiversity is a long-term aim of the business, as well as diversifying into horticulture production.

The aim of the project is to test a route into horticulture by establishing a Pick Your Own venture focusing on pumpkin and squash production. The project will explore in house propagation as well as purchasing plants from a nursery, comparing cost, plant establishment and yield. It will also compare different methods of weed suppressant across the site to understand what best works for plant establishment. The farm has access to wool as a bi- product of sheep shearing. The wool will be tested as a sustainable mulch and weed suppressant, and compared to an area of geotextile plastic suppressant. To encourage pollinators and increase the biodiversity on the farm, the project will include the introduction of pollinator strips on the PYO site. In addition to being beneficial for pollination, these strips will be visually appealing for tourists visiting the site during the PYO season.

The project will also contribute to the Sustainable Land Management outcomes including:

  • Resilient ecosystems
  • Resource efficient
  • Enhanced access and engagement

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