National Geographic Traveller (UK)



Weobley Castle Farm has stood on open farmland on the north coast of Gower, with a view towards West Wales, for more than a century. For the past 70 years, the farm and its sheep, which are born and raised on the salt marshes, have been in the care of the Pritchard family. Today, that’s Rowland Pritchard and his two sons, Daniel and Will — the third generation.

The Pritchards’ flock of around 1,000 sheep — plus another 1,000 or so lambs come spring — spend most of their lives on the salt marshes, returning to the farm only for a night or two every couple of weeks, when the tide is high. Their meat acquires distinctiv­e characteri­stics from their unique environmen­t, particular­ly from the vegetation on which they graze. “The marsh has grass not found anywhere else, plus samphire and sorrel, all of which gets covered by salt water from the tide. All these things make a difference to the flavour,” Will explains.

He describes their meat as being “darker and leaner” than pasture-raised lamb, adding that the animals’ unique diet means the “flavour is sweeter, more succulent, and doesn’t have a strong lamby, gamey taste”. The farm’s award-winning Gower Salt Marsh Lamb is only available in season (July until Christmas) and was recently awarded PDO (protected designatio­n of origin) status, under Defra’s UK Geographic­al Indication (GI) scheme.

When it comes to preparing the lamb to eat, Will says, “it’s important with most cuts to try and have some pink in the middle to keep it juicy”. He advises “not to mess about with too many or too strong flavours, or you can drown out the flavour of the meat”.

The same, of course, goes for the drinks pairing. For many, a glass of wine might seem the most obvious partner for a roast lamb lunch on a Sunday, but for a more interestin­g accompanim­ent, try a Welsh whisky instead.

When the privately owned Penderyn Distillery, in the Brecon Beacons, began making its premium single malt whiskies in 2000, it was the first time the spirit had been distilled in Wales in more than 100 years. CEO Stephen Davies describes the range of whiskies as being “very different in style to Scottish whisky — light, delicate, fruity spirits”. He emphasises the importance of being careful when pairing whisky with lamb. “You don’t want one to overwhelm the other,” he explains. But Penderyn Peated Whisky, a multi-award-winning pale golden single malt, is light and subtle enough in flavour to work.

Now one of its bestsellin­g spirits, Penderyn Peated Whisky came about by what Stephen describes as a

“happy accident”, when the team’s second-ever expression was aged for five years in a second-hand Scottish barrel that had previously contained a smoky Islay whisky. This produced a light spirit with an attractive smoky flavour and aroma that was an instant hit with his customers. Stephen explains that it isn’t a typical peated spirit. “It’s less oily, and fits into the Penderyn style of spirit, still light and fruity, but with hints of smoke about it.” As for how to drink it, Stephen opts for neat, but adds, “you could add a few drops of water to soften the alcohol”.

WHERE TO START: Gower Salt Marsh Lamb is available in season from the online shop; visitors to Weobley Castle can buy products from the onsite fridge. Penderyn whiskies are available at the distillery, as are tours, or from supermarke­ts. Penderyn Peated Whisky can be bought online. gowersaltm­ penderynst­

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