SUSTAINABLE log cabins, glamping pods and creating jobs are among the priorities for a growing family business in 2024.
Fresh from the success of their Donkey Dash up and down Moel Famau, Flintshire’s highest peak – which raised more than £1500 for Cherish Wrecsam – G&M Davies Ltd has unveiled big plans for the coming year.
The group, which includes Moel Famau Donkeys, The Larch Cladding Company, and JD Logs, has enjoyed a period of significant growth since the pandemic.
Based on a 40-acre former dairy farm on Moel Famau, director Mathew Davies and the team have submitted proposals for ‘green’ accommodation on site to meet a rise in demand.
“During lockdown my wife Sioned and I were walking around the fields and could see there were so many opportunities to capitalise on our beautiful surroundings in the Clwydian Range and the tens of thousands of people who visit the area every year by utilising the space we have,” said Mathew, dad to Orla, Efa and Morgan.
“We also wanted to do something that would help people and wildlife, so we contacted a donkey sanctuary with a view to bringing six of them here, to settle them in and give them a future.
“They arrived last year and have been very popular; having got them from a sanctuary we’ve been able to train them and give them a loving home, which in turn has attracted people to come and see them, to walk them and spend time here at the farm.
“As a result, and following a trial period, we’ve decided to take it to the next level and have created walking trails, hosted parties and for many they are therapeutic and help with people’s health and wellbeing.”
Nansi, Rosie, Tilly, Blodwen, Polly, and Bess are now very much part of the family and together with more than 30 generous walkers dressed as Santa helped raise funds for Cherish Wrecsam, a parent support group linked to the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, on the recent Charity Donkey Dash.
Mathew, who previously worked as a PE teacher, says the event will now become one of the calendar of annual events they host from the site, and hopes their proposals for accommodation and further activities will be approved so they can support the local economy and tourism industry while creating new jobs.
“From the 1970s this was a dairy farm, then we diversified into a sawmill and horse bedding production company, and now we have identified that there is an appetite for Moel Famau Donkeys to become more of an experience and place people can come and stay, rather than visiting for a few hours,” he said.
“We are looking to build four new lodges, and erect glamping pods; they will be for families and couples, with under-floor heating supplied by our biomass boilers, materials from The Larch Cladding Company and wood-fired hot tubs, so it’s all sustainable, there’s zero waste and it lowers our carbon footprint.”
Mathew added: “We’ve already been contacted by businesses and organisations wanting to visit for wellness days, team building, volunteering, and getaways, for their staff’s health and wellbeing.
“There is a lot of potential to keep growing the business organically, while sympathetic to the location and beauty of Moel Famau and our beloved donkeys.
“I’m confident with the support and collaboration of the local authority and local businesses, and given the demand we’ve already seen, these developments could be another jewel in the crown for this region.”
For more information, including details of upcoming winter events, visit the website www.moelfamaudonkeys.co.uk and follow them on Facebook @moelfamaudonkeys.