One British pound. That’s about a buck-fifty in dollars. And that’s what it’ll cost you to leave the rat race behind.
How does prime farmland in Wales overlooking the Irish Sea sound?
Spanning 140 acres on the Welsh coastline is a place called Parc Farm. The sprawling limestone headlands are in Northern Wales near Llandudno, Conwy county. The offer comes from a British charity that’s looking for a caretaker.
Sounds too good to be true, right? There must be a catch.
“For one pound a year, they’re going to get a 4-bedroom bungalow overlooking the Irish Sea with the most wonderful views that you can get anywhere, every time they open their doors,” says William Greenwood, general manager of the National Trust. “And they’re going to get, um, 416 sheep.”
Ah, there it is. You can leave the rat race, but to do it you’ve got to enter the sheep race.
“416 sheep come with the farm, yes they do,” says Greenwood, “and the catch is really that instead of asking [the caretaker] to put the sheep inside the farm walls on the bright green fields and nice sweet grass, [they need to] put the sheep outside on the headland where there’s a lot of … bracken, and a lot of heather. That’s where the conservation value is, outside the walls of the farm.”
The sheep are a key part of a conservation plan designed by the National Trust to bring back some long neglected grasslands. The sheep munch away at the overgrown grasses and heather, but they leave behind the fragile and threatened plants and animals, allowing them to flourish.
“There are Silver-studded blue butterflies and Graylings that are really unique and wild cotoneaster plants; then we’ve got Razorbills, Guillemot, and we’ve got Chough, which are really rare birds but their habitat, this grassland outside the walls is becoming choked up with rank grasses because it’s not been grazed enough.”
If you’re keen to take on this unusual assignment, you’ll need to polish up your shepherding skills. And keep a pair of shearing scissors handy too, says Greenwood.
“Oh yeah, that’s what the farmer will be doing. He’ll be looking after those sheep on a day-to-day basis, moving them around the headlands early in the mornings, in the late evenings to where they need to graze. He’ll be shearing them, lambing them, marking them, and he’ll be rearing those sheep. … He wants a really productive flock of sheep because that’s where he’s going to get his income or where she’s going to get her income, because it’s open to everybody this job.”
The Great Orme farming job was just posted earlier this week. Greenwood says 700 applications have already come in, with thousands more expected.
“It’s going to be quite a long day, long days, sifting through them all I suspect, trying to find that unique person for this unique site.”
Applications are due to the National Trust by noon on June 10.
Find out how to apply here: http://nattru.st/4nqgk
By David Leveille, PRI’s The World
This article is syndicated from PRI’s The World.