We can’t believe it’s been almost two years since our first Meet the Maker blog about Melin Tregywnt! It’s definitely about time that we shone a spotlight on another of our wonderful suppliers. This weekend, Welsh Lavender opened their gates to the public as part of the National Garden Scheme Open Days.
We went along to look around their beautiful lavender fields and learn more about how they make their skincare products. We even got to have a browse of their first ever Makers Market.
The History of Welsh Lavender
Welsh Lavender’s Farmers’ skincare range was inspired by the labours of Welsh hill farmers, as the lavender farm itself is set 1100ft high up in the Cambrian Mountains.
The story began in 2003, when philosopher Bill Newton-Smith and journalist Nancy Durham were considering alternative uses for their sheep farm. Reminded of the lavender hedge grown in their Oxford garden, within a few months the first lavender field was planted and Wales’ first ever lavender farm was opened.
Its took 9 years years for Bill & Nancy to develop the Farmers’ skincare range as we know it. After developing a range of creams and balms using their own distilled lavender oil, it was time to put it to the test. After giving a talk to the Wye Valley Grassland Association, and hearing their high praise from the farmers and their wives, Nancy thought of their first product name- Farmers’ hand cream.
Lavender farming and sheep farming run side by side in the Welsh mountains- the lavender blooms as lambing season begins and lavender harvest and distilling happens as sheep sheering is in full swing.
The lavender oil is distilled at the Welsh Lavender farm near Builth Wells and is then sent to their partner Helen Lowe in North Wales to be turned into the skincare products that we know and love. Helen makes the creams and balms in small patches with fresh, natural ingredients. They are then sent back to Farmers’ HQ to be packaged and sent out their stockists and customers around the around.
Despite their name, Welsh Lavender also make a range of non-lavender products, filled with invigorating scents of rosemary, lemongrass, peppermint and eucalyptus. So even if you aren’t a fan of lavender, they still have products that could be just what you’re looking for!
A Look Around
Farmers’ HQ is nestled among the rolling hills of Mynydd Epynt and is surround by stunning views of the Welsh countryside. As you arrived at the farm you are greeted by the sight of the characterful barns and farmhouse where most of the magic happens.
Their shop is full of their skincare products and other Farmers’ provisions handmade by local makers. There is also the distillery, filling station and the barn where the lavender is stored after it has been harvested.
If you do make a visit to Welsh Lavender, we highly recommended going into the distillery. The smell of the lavender oil being made is just incredible and their displays explain more about the lavender distilling process.
The barns and farmhouse look out over the lavender fields, which have been planted with different lavender species that are used in their products. There is also Bill’s kitchen garden and gorgeous pond that the Farmers’ team love to have a dip in from time to time (if you don’t believe us, check out their Instagram page!)
Whilst visiting the Open Day, Welsh Lavender were also holding their first Lavender Harvest Makers’ Market. It was full of little treasures from local makers and purveyors, including handmade marshmallows, traditional textiles, knitted clothing and willow weaving.
Plan You Visit
Welsh Lavender’s farm and shop is open all year round, but the best time to see the lavender fields is midsummer. From late July to mid-August, distillation is in progress. However the distillery is open year round for visitors to see how lavender oil is made.
Visitors are free to walk around the lavender fields and farm notes are available if you would like to look around on your own. Wild swimming in their pond is even encouraged so make sure to pack your swimmers! You can also call ahead to let them know about your visit so they can make sure Farmers’ are home and stocked up on tea and cake.
Group visits can also be arranged by contacting Welsh Lavender directly.
To find out more about visiting Welsh Lavender, head to the Visit section of their website.
And don’t forget you don’t have to travel all the way to Builth Wells to stock up on your favourite Farmers’ skincare. You can find a selection of their products in our Swansea store and online at www.valleymill.co.uk/beauty/farmers-lavender/