Cae'r Bryniau

Felix’s blog – the Bottom Field

I don’t understand these non-sheep creatures. Last year we had our choice of three fields. During the year we had seen the arrival of weird yellow digging machines, making long trenches and laying pipes. They dug two big holes. I overheard one of the non-sheep saying ‘this one is for a treatment plant’ but imagine our disgust when they dug another big hole in the middle of the Bottom Field. It was 10 foot deep and about 25 feet across. On that day we were excluded from the field, which had the best grass.

Since then we witnessed lots of non-sheep scattering wildflower seeds over the bank, which produced what would have been a tasty display of brilliant colour this Spring.

Then the male non-sheep lined the deep hole with the help of his companions and filled it with water. ‘It’s a wildlife pond’ they said. During the course of these last four seasons we have seen ducks on the pond, dragonfly and frogs, but we can’t get near enough to eat the lovely plants and yummy saplings around it.

Felix is the first of our Soay sheep born at Cae’r Bryniau and is now resplendent with magnificent horns, all the better for butting his younger companions and the old fellow who lives with them.

Robin Redbreast writes from the Valley (not Valley, the village down the road)

During the last 12 moons the humans have developed the Valley considerably. The polytunnel, now up for 16 seasons, has given me lots of tasty morsels, although I do have to battle with the frogs from one of Nick’s growing number of ponds for the best grubs. What’s worse is that I have to run the gauntlet of one of the felines, who like to sleep in the polytunnel and occasionally nab one of my feathered companions for quick snack, but I’m too fast! Jenny Wren tells me that they prefer blackbirds and blue tits anyway. The grape vines in the tunnel are now producing enough grapes to make 20 bottles of wine a year (but I suspect that 20 bottles won’t last long with Nick and Suzi around).

My favourite days are when either Nick or Suzi are digging in one of the raised beds, as I can rest on the handle of a spade and watch for worms to appear. Most weeks the small human (I’ve heard them call him Benjamin) comes down but they haven’t yet taught him how to dig worms for me, even though he likes collecting stones or spraying Nick with the hose rather than watering the polytunnel.

As the shortest day approaches, I am VERY excited. They have just put in a sixth raised bed, which can only mean one thing – MORE WORMS!

We like to think that Robin Redbreast has been with us all the time we have been here, although we suspect it not be the same one but for dramatic purposes I want to believe!

And now over to Barbara who writes from the pavilion.

WOOF! Throughout the summer, when my servants, Mum and Dad, ran the B&B, we were banished to the pavilion, as we weren’t allowed to help Dad cook breakfast in the kitchen. To be fair, it is a lovely place to be. Nice mats on the floor and lots of snacks to try to reach (crisps, peanuts and our favourites, pork scratchings, but don’t tell them that Tom has worked out how to take them down and open them).

Talking of banishing, when things get really exciting, such as during cricket, golf or rugby matches, we sometimes have to give up our floor space so that more of the humans can fit in and sit around, drinking beer and wine and getting loud. Mind you it was strangely quiet on the day of the Rugby World Cup final (apart from those pesky Welsh supporters, who pretended they were South African).

But enough of me – I need to sleep now and dream of eating stones or other unmentionables.

Barbara is one of the two resident Labradors (she’s the black one) who loves nothing better that finding food. She’s not had an operation this year yet (touchwood she won’t ever again). Perhaps they are growing up…

Speckled Hen writes:

The new shepherds huts have brought many and varied visitors to my patch. It has been nice to have some civilised company in comparison to those bossy young chicks who rule the roost these days. The guests started arriving when the daffodils were blooming. There were not many at first in those spring days, but by midsummer there were people coming and going constantly. Many of them were most kind and ignored Nick’s requests not to feed me. Often I would see the door of a hut open and I would run along excitedly to greet the new arrivals, only to be disappointed when Suzi emerged with a bag of laundry and had the audacity to shoo me away! 

 I don’t think either of the human residents understands the rustic charm I bring to their enterprise; I am always particularly pleased with the little deposits I leave near the steps to the huts. Now the days have shortened again, there seem to be fewer visitors, but I am ever watchful as they do turn up occasionally even now - and you never know, they may have corn!


Speckled Hen is one of the oldest residents of the Main Coop. She is a campaigner for anti-bullying, with a particular focus on hen-pecking and ostracism.

On behalf of all the residents of Cae'r Bryniau, we wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Nadolig Llawen a Blyddyn Newydd Dda!