The Eco-Farm at Killan Fach, Dunvant has been worked by the Heritage Centre for over 20 years for growing a variety of products including Christmas Trees and for supporting our Animal Park with cultivated feeding crops and grazing. The Farm is a valuable resource for the Heritage Centre providing a regular supply of cut and potted Christmas trees (sold at the Heritage Centre) and other products such as cut fire logs and willow and hazel used for our historical re-enactments and weaving classes. Many of our animals are over wintered at the Farm and it has helped the Centre to operate in a more sustainable way allowing us to keep our facilities and craft workshops open all year round.
In 2017 The Centre partnered with Gower Power CIC to undertake the construction of a Solar Park generating 1MW of power on 4 acres of ground from where we had cropped Christmas trees. The scheme was funded by grants from EST ( the Energy Saving Trust) and also loans from the Development Bank of Wales. Following construction and getting the site operational the loans were replaced by direct shareholder investment through a crowd funding scheme. The Solar Scheme is currently operated as a community benefit society by Gower Regeneration Limited www.regengower.co.uk.
We are grateful to all investors who have supported the Solar Park scheme as in the long term this will help with our task of preserving the 12th Century water mill at the Heritage Centre. We hope this Project will become a great renewable story when the oldest source of renewable energy on Gower -our 12th Century water wheel -is now helped by the latest 21st Century solar technology at our Farm.
A further CIC -Gower Power Solar Storage- has been set up to install a battery storage scheme at the Farm to facilitate the offer of electricity direct to local householders and businesses through net work supplier Eco-tricity.
We have also been working with organic food producers to grow a variety of new crops at the farm. We now stock some farm products in the Heritage Centre shop and hold regular food markets at the Centre which help us to continue fund the preservation of the Heritage Assets. Current producers at the Farm include Prenteg eggs, Summit Good CIC and Good For You Ferments, Swansea. We are also increasing production and the range of our potted Christmas Trees and logs for sale.
The farm is currently home to all the animals from the Heritage Centre cared for by Liam (pictured left) whilst we are closed due to the pandemic.
Our members will be able to visit the farm at pre booked times to see the developments and take part in workshops about growing food, animal management, outdoor skills such as cutting timber, making fences etc.
We are increasing our numbers and diversity of sheep to support our woollen mill project at the Heritage Centre. See picture below of some our ryeland sheep enjoying the rejuvenated grazing area created by the solar park scheme. Helping to keep the grass down they also enjoy the shelter provided by the solar panels.
There are electric vehicle hooks up available for visitors and general public at the Barn on the top entrance to the farm from Killan Road. We will organise visits to the Farm for any members who want to see the solar park and battery scheme in operation. The solar scheme is being run as a Community Benefit society which means that any future profits can also be used to support community schemes such as growing food locally and sustainably.
We intend to encourage more food and drink producers to set up at the Farm making use of the solar technology and support our eco-initiatives of sustainable food production. If you are a food producer interested in working with us please call Liam on 07767807600.
If you are interested in helping with any of our initiatives to grow food more locally and to encourage biodiversity and carbon neutral methods of farming and construction then please get in touch.
Please help support us by asking Swansea City Council to work with us on these initiatives as so far planning officials have show a reluctance to support our plans for the building of new Barns and the refurbishment of existing ones into food and drink facilities. The Councils planning policies for farming and rural industry need to be updated and brought into line with Welsh Government policies and ambitions for a greener more sustainable future for Wales.