October 2021 meeting & events


We held our first indoor meeting since March 2020 at the Tanardy Lodge in Carmarthen on Wednesday 13 October. Attended by some 25 members it was a great opportunity to meet up with each other and talk through many issues that the enforced break had brought into focus. In particular we discussed issues relating to communications and a significant outcome was the desire to set up a Whats App group. The Committee will be taking this forward shortly so look out for further information in the next Newsletter.


September 2018 Meeting & Events

Please remember that all DSA meetings, farm walks and other events are NO SMOKING, which includes e-cigarettes.

Sunday 2nd September 11am. Farm Walk Brechfa
We are invited to Dawn and Martins holding where they keep water-buffalo among other animals. Please can we ask no dogs are brought along.

A sunny day saw an excellent turnout for the walk around Dawn and Martin’s 20 acre holding high up in the Brechfa forest. In only four years, they have transformed the holding from a badly pony-overgrazed disaster area into a highly productive and attractive site. They are now almost self sufficient for meat, fruit and vegetables and are working to establish a willow rotation coppice to keep them warm as well. Much fencing work and erection of animal shelters has been undertaken and there is now a patchwork of permanent paddocks and further options for division using electric fencing. The current horticultural area, with its polytunnels, fruit cages and raised beds is destined for future extension. Much of the produce is preserved for year round availability by drying, bottling, freezing and canning. Goats provide milk and associated dairy products whilst Hebridean sheep give wool and meat. Alpacas provide fleeces for Dawns craft enterprise. Water buffalo are a recent arrival and are already proving their worth as high quality meat producers. Pigs complete the four legged picture Bees, hens and turkeys are all catered for and in turn cater for their hosts.
All-in-all the assembled throng were awed by the amount of work that has already gone into the enterprise and congratulate Dawn and Martin on their achievement to date.

Wednesday 12th September 7.45pm for 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre
Farming and Wildlife: A talk on by Alan, one of our members, who will hope to persuade you that farming and wildlife, can co-exist. It just takes the right mindset for the farmer and a few basic facts of life to consider.

Sunday 30th September 11am. Basic skills event at Blaenycoed
Stock Fencing: A day to learn basic fencing techniques by actually creating a stock proof post and wire fence. This will be weather dependant so be prepared for postponement.


August 2018 Meeting & Events

Wednesday 8th August 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
Steve Lucas from the Bat Conservation Society is coming to talk to us and give us a chance to do some bat spotting!
Steve gave us an excellent informative and illustrated talk on bats. We learnt about the species found in Wales, their population status and the kind of habitats each species preferred. It would seem that Pembrokeshire is particularly well-endowed with bats both in species, type and numbers. Steve also covered bat physiology, emphasising their differing needs for feeding, breeding, overwintering and raising young. As well as emphasising that the best way to help conserve bats is to manage their habitats appropriately.

Sunday 12th August 11am. Farm Sale Mynyddcerrig, Llanelli
This is a chance to pick up a bargain or sell a no longer needed item that is related to smallholding items.
Pam has sold her holding and although her purchasers are buying it as a going concern there are still some items to sell.  This is not an auction but more of a car boot or farm barn sale.
If members have related items they would like to sell then they are welcome to bring them along.

Just to remind to members that it is normally necessary to bring a cup and sandwiches for lunch and if you wish a chair to sit in. We are often offered cake at these walks but this is entirely at the host’s discretion.

July 2018 Meeting & Events

Wednesday 11th July 7pm. Summer Barbeque near Llangynog.
It’s BBQ time and once again we will be gathering on one of our members holdings.
BBQ basics will be provided – burgers, sausages, bread rolls, all cooked under the supervision of Andy but members are asked to bring along supporting eatables – salads, puddings etc – for the communal table.
You will also need to bring your own crockery and cutlery and something to sit on. A £2.50 charge to members and £5 to guests will be collected on the night.
Despite intense competition from a certain football match on the TV, 35 members turned up for our annual BBQ. Andy controlled the cooking with consummate skill whilst keeping an eye on his mobile phone for any news of England’s potential demise (later confirmed). The communal table was well laden with a range of very tasty contributions. Our thanks to Penny and John for once again hosting our annual summertime gathering.

Sunday 22nd July. Farm Walk at near Solva Pembrokeshire.
There will be Icelandic sheep and horses, as well as goats chickens and ducks. The farm is also involved in conservation grazing.

We apologise but due to unforeseen circumstances this Walk has been cancelled.

June 2018 Meeting & Events

Wednesday 13th June 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
‘Buildings’ Ask The Panel.  A panel of members, who have been Smallholders for some years, will give a short talk on the pros and cons of old and new buildings. There will be ample opportunity for questions and discussion.
Peat, Karen and Alan supported by Doug presented slides and information on the many and various farm buildings that they have been involved with and highlighted the joys and complications they have encountered in sitting, designing, sourcing materials – both new and reclaimed, and constructing or renovating the structures.

Peat concentrated mainly on new builds whilst Alan added in the challenges of modifying older farm buildings to modern needs. Karen introduced the use of recycled materials, in particular the value some reconstituted plastics as answers to the ever present problem of keeping things clean.

Sunday 24th June. Farm Visit
This will be on holding near Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, where cattle and horses are used for conservation grazing. There are also sheep and willow which is grown for a variety of different uses.

A good number of members turned out on this lovely sunny day and enjoyed a tour of the farm, heath and gardens. The long spell of hot weather had dried everywhere out and for once wellingtons were confined to the car boot.
Tea, cool drinks and cakes were an added bonus. Thanks to our hosts for an excellent and informative tour.

For further information this holding is featured in July’s newsletter.

May 2018 Meeting & Events

Wednesday 9 May 2018 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
Goat keeping for beginners a talk by Alan & Margaret.

This was a well attended illustrated talk covering the basics of keeping goats as a productive resource. Breeds, housing, feeding, breeding, milking, fencing and shelter from the elements were all covered along with what to do with the milk, meat, muck and a bit on how to keep them reasonably healthy.

Sunday 20 May 2018. Demonstration at Blaenycoed
Goat keeping for beginners in practice demonstrated by Alan & Margaret.

A small group attended and were able to see the way they kept their goats and now hopefully understand better the problems, pitfalls and pleasures of livestock management.
The highlight of the day was the opportunity to “milk” the somewhat undernourished training goat “Boardy”.
Margaret explained the various bits of equipment and the processes involved in cream separation, cheese making and ice cream making and samples were available for members to taste.


April 2018 Meeting

Wednesday 11 April 2018 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
Talk and demonstration of peg looming and equipment given by Janet.
The April meeting saw Janet surrounded by erstwhile peg loomers seeking the knowledge of how to turn almost anything into a usable fabric. Her sampler showed that you can use fleece – carded or uncarded, sisal, spun wool, old sheets, or even plastic shopping bags to create something that could be used around the holding. As they say – your imagination is your only limitation. Several members got their hands exercised twisting wool around the pegs and quite quickly gasping the rudiments of the operation. The simple equipment – a length of 3”x 2” hardwood with holes drilled to accommodate pieces of dowel, a bit of bent wire strapped to a short stick, some smooth string, something to weave with and a lot of patience seemed to be pretty well all you needed to get started.

March 2018 Meeting

Wednesday 14th March 2018 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.
Agricultural Steam Machinery, an illustrated historical perspective of the role of steam power in agriculture. A talk by Doug.

This was a very interesting step back in time and one could clearly see the development of early basic machinery to the sophistication of present day equipment. Some present could clearly remember seeing some of the original types in action.

January 2018 Meetings & Events

Wednesday 10th January 2018 8pm. Monthly Meeting at Carmarthen Veterinary Centre.

Arwyn Davies from Food Centre Wales will be coming to speak to us. Arwyn is their Business Development Manager, who will be talking about the services they can offer to small producers (such as smallholders) including training and technical advice, food safety, help with product development and business start-up.

Sunday 21st January 2018 1pm for 1.30pm. New Year’s Lunch at The Carpenters Arms, Broadway, Laugharne, SA33 4NS. Telephone: 01994 427435.

The cost for a carvery main course will be £8.45 and for two courses (main & dessert) £10.45.
This is a very popular event so if you would like to come along please book your place with our Secretary at the January meeting as we need to confirm numbers by Monday 15th January.
Take the A4066 out of St. Clears to Laugharne. Continue through Laugharne on the A4066 to Broadway, less than a mile from the centre of Laugharne. The Carpenters Arms is on your right in Broadway village with their car park just beyond the pub.