A Mixed Working Farm on the Banks of the River Usk
Gilestone Farm is about 240 acres of level, quality river ground bounded by the River Usk to the North, and the Brecon & Monmouthshire canal to the South.
Charles Weston runs Gilestone as a mixed farm, making the best use possible of the various sizes of fields and buildings. There is one sheepdog – Tess, a border collie – who usually travels with Charles, and is always pleased to meet visitors.
About two thirds of the land is currently farmed in an arable rotation, and this year we are growing winter wheat and potatoes.
There is a herd of suckler beef cattle kept on the 60 acres of grassland. The cows have a calf each year which stay on the farm until they are twelve to eighteen months old. In the Summer we keep some fields clear of stock for a while so that we can make big bales of silage for their winter feed. These are supplemented by more hay and silage made on our nearby farm at Crai.
At Crai there is a flock of sheep, and lambs from these are brought down to Gilestone in the Autumn for finishing on fodder crops that are planted after the corn is harvested. There is a hard road running down through the farm, which makes a nice walk and enables one to have a look round the farm without getting too wet or muddy.
A feature of the farm is the large number of large and attractive mature oak trees growing in some of the fields. There are several acres of relatively young woodland, managed by the Talybont-on-Usk Community Woodland Group.
During the last five years we have planted several complete new hedges, and many hundreds of new trees. This has been done working with the Vincent Wildlife Trust, who are anxious to improve habitats and flight lines for the rare Lesser Horseshoe bats – as well as to provide habitats and feed for various bird species. To the farm stock this all means more shelter from wind and rain, and to the farmer and visitors an extremely attractive landscape.
There is a lot of wildlife at Gilestone, and a great variety of birds. Pheasants roam freely over the farm, (knowing that they will not be shot!), and there are buzzards, red kites, and herons in abundance.
We are happy to take guests for a walk round and to show you what we do on the farm.