An experienced shepherd chosen as tenant of a £1 million National Trust farm, for £1 a year, described the “very different” challenge of keeping a flock on a headland battered by storms.

Daniel Jones, 40, of Anglesey, was in 2016 selected out of 2,500 applicants as tenant of 145-acre Parc Farm on the picturesque Great Orme headland, overlooking Llandudno. In a council prosecution, he’s denied failing to dispose of three sheep carcasses, failing to keep a register of animal movements and nine offences of failing to notify the authorities of animals he had

received between 2016, when he took over the tenancy, and 2018.

Mr Jones faces the proceedings after Conwy council trading standards officers visited the farm in January last year following a complaint from a member of the public about dead sheep. Mr Jones insisted, in evidence, he sent off information to comply with obligations relating to the nine animal movement charges.

There was no concern about animal welfare, council officers accepted.

In evidence at Llandudno court, Mr Jones said :”Winter 2016 was my first winter there. The conditions were favourable. It was a very mild winter. 2017 was completely different. There were a lot of storms. During January (2018) seven named storms passed through the Great Orme.”

There had been snow, too. He said: "The sheep on the Orme were not happy. The sheep found there was a lot more grass in places like the cricket pitch and would wander down overnight into town.”

There was no physical boundary between the headland and the town. In December 2017 the wind blew off shed roofs used to house the flock, also.

He said it was “constantly bad weather.” Mr Jones said: "It was a tough winter.” He said the “knacker men” couldn’t keep up with collecting dead livestock in Wales.

Mr Jones told district judge Gwyn Jones that he was a fourth generation farmer from Anglesey. “My farming experience commenced growing up on the small family farm. I was always involved with sheep and sheep farming. From a young age I used to help my father.”

He had been a contract shepherd and in 2007 started farming himself in Anglesey.

He recalled how friends had told him about the Llandudno opportunity. “I dismissed it at the time. As a couple of days went by, I looked into it and the main attraction was the farm for a pound a year.”

He had been a tenant farmer in Anglesey, landlords had been increasing rents and he was forced to farm more intensively. He and his wife thought it would be a good move to Llandudno and a “fresh challenge.”

But Mr Jones agreed with his lawyer David Kirwan that running Parc Farm on the top of the Great Orme, sticking out into the Irish Sea, was “very different” to running a lowland farm in Anglesey. “It gets a battering from the weather,” he explained. “The wind and rain can be pretty bad. It can be dangerous at times.

“It’s very challenging because of the cliffs. Sheep get stuck on cliffs. I have had to employ climbers to save them. I have had sheep fall in the sea. One of my sheepdogs fell 50ft in the sea but he survived.”

In interview, Mr Jones said he’d cleared the carcasses as soon as he knew they were there. He had told the Conwy council officials :”I don’t know how I missed them.” But he had “so much going on.”

He said :”I was just running around everywhere.”

Mr Jones told the court there were “lots of organisations” involved with the management of the headland including Natural Resources Wales and charities such as the RSPB. He was in the middle of “conflicting interests.”

Answering questions from his solicitor, Mr Jones said: "For the welfare of the sheep they should be on the Orme. I need to keep the residents of Llandudno on my side. It’s annoying having sheep outside your house and in the roads and in gardens.”

He added that there had also been 15 sheep fatalities in dog attacks.

The case continues.