Pembrokeshire farmer Will Evans bought his first pedigree Kerry Hills when he was just 14 and, 21 years on, his numbers make it the UK’s biggest registered flock. Debbie James finds out why he has never fallen out of love with the breed.


Will Evans will be part of history in the making when he judges the Kerry Hill sheep classes at this summer’s Royal Highland Show.

For the first time the breed will have a dedicated section at this Scottish show and Will has been asked to judge those competitions.

He may only be 35 but he has a long association with the Kerry Hill as he acquired four ewes and a ram when he was 14.

Why the Kerry Hill? “I went to the Royal Welsh Show to look at all the breeds and it was the Kerry Hill that really stood out for me,’’ he recalls.

Its appeal has endured and Will has gradually built up numbers by retaining ewe lambs.

The Lowland flock, which takes its name from Lowlands Farm, the family farm near Sageston, now numbers 220, making it the largest pedigree Kerry Hill flock in the UK.

In 2023 it won the national flock completion for a large flock over 61 ewes and was reserve champion overall.

Will credits both his grandfathers – Elwyn Harries and Lloyd Evans - with encouraging his interest in farming and providing him with land to first establish the flock.

His farming enterprise extends beyond the pedigree flock, with 200 commercial ewes and a herd of 80 Hereford and Aberdeen Angus suckler cows, all run on 300 acres.

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The pedigree flock is tupped in August, with teaser rams initially introduced before the Kerry Hill rams are turned in – one for every 50 ewes and mostly sourced from breed sales at Ludlow.

One ram that has had a big influence on the flock in recent years is a Woodhouse tup, Woodhouse Arkle, bred by John and Philippa Owen, and which set him back £4,000. “He has really improved the flock,’’ says Will.

He recently invested £2,200 in a Downwood ram bred by Jim Rowe and is looking forward to seeing what mark he makes on the flock.

He admits to being “quite choosy’’ when selecting Kerry Hill rams. “Every breeder has a ‘type’, for me they have to look sharp, not too heavy because they are after all a hill ewe, the ears must sit square on top of the head and they have to have the right markings, including black patches on the knees.’’

Texel and Suffolk rams are used on the commercial ewes.

Ewes are dosed for worms and given a mineral drench before tupping.

Lambing is from mid-January to mid-March, with Will’s parents, Paddy and Anna, lending a helping hand.

The flock is at grass, supplemented with mineral lick buckets, until they are housed post-scanning at the end of November – a scanning percentage of 184% was achieved in the 2024-lambing ewes.

At housing, feed is good quality haylage and mineral licks. “They do very well on grass so they don’t get any cake because they would get over-fat,’’ Will explains.

He lambs early because the ram lambs and any females he doesn’t retain as replacements or for sale as breeding stock are sold as fat lambs at Whitland market, and he can catch the more lucrative new season trade with January lambing.

Ewes and lambs are turned out to fresh grass two or three days after lambing. They are moved to new pasture every three weeks, with the fields that have been grazed then locked up for silage to control parasite burdens. “We try to keep them moving around because the lambs do well on fresh grass,’’ says Will.

The Kerry Hills are slower to mature than the commercials but, as Will points out: “I’m not trying to breed them too big, I’m not pushing them because when you do that you start to get problems with their feet and teeth, but some of the big singles are up there with the commercials.’’

The Kerry Hill lambs are weaned at the beginning of July and this is when Will selects the lambs he will retain for showing.

Competing at shows is an interest he has never grown tired of. He has won the best ewe lamb in breed at the Royal Welsh Show on four occasions and captured the prize for the reserve champion female too. At the Pembrokeshire County Show one of his animals won champion ram lamb and he has picked up numerous prizes at local shows too, including Martletwy and Brecon.

“The Royal Welsh Show championship is the one I want to win!’’ he confesses.

Although he won’t be competing at the Royal Highland Show in June, it will come with an element of pressure in his capacity as breed judge. “There will be seven classes for the Kerrys because they have become very popular in Scotland, there are lots of flocks there now.

“It is such a big show so yes, there will be pressure because there will almost certainly be some really quality sheep there.’’

And it may be that in 2025 it will be his own sheep that will be accompanying him up north.