: Museums, Exhibitions and Events

Lambing During Climate Change: What are the Challenges at St Fagans?

Ffion Rhisiart, 20 March 2024

On a wide scale, climate change has made us all aware of just how unpredictable the weather year-to-year can be. But how has it affected lambing at St Fagans and farming in Wales as a whole? Speaking with Emma from the St Fagans farming team, I learnt how climate change has impacted Lambcam 2024. 

In good news, this year has been easier in comparison to 2023! This is down to increased rainfall over the summer in comparison to 2022 which meant that there has been an ample amount of grass to feed the sheep. The year prior had been the opposite, according to Met office data the rainfall in Cardiff in July 2022 had been just 13.0mm, whereas 2023 saw a staggering increase to 185.6mm. A dry summer means that the farm has to rely more on hay and reserve feed over natural grass, leading to the ewes being in poor body condition and subsequently lower birth rates. Ewes require constant monitoring in both the lead up to and during pregnancy. having high mineral and vitamin levels is essential in ensuring they have high fertility and conception rates when being sent to the rams. Meeting their nutritional needs can also ensure that they are not using any of their reserve energy in the peak of their pregnancy. In 2023 we saw 342 lambs born, and this year 444 lambs have been born so far (up to 19 March). This includes a significantly higher number of triplets than average, as well as one set of quadruplets!

So, is more rain always a good thing? Yes and no, both wet and dry scenarios bring their own unique challenges. Too much rain results in the ground becoming waterlogged, making the grass less likely to grow well. The farm at St Fagans in particular is on a lower ground level, so rainfall is slower to dry. Ewes can end up developing footrot in poor underfoot conditions, who then won’t want to eat, ending up weaker on their legs and potentially not able to conceive during mating. 

As you may have noticed, lambing is very high maintenance! Even a slight change can impact how lambing is carried out each year, so farmers are already prepared for the bigger changes. In the words of Emma: “you just have to be”. Farmers have always had to be in touch with how the land is changing, and freak weather years, while becoming more common, have always been an occurrence. In short, being prepared for every eventuality has always been part of the job. While the factors always change, the team at St Fagans have the inherent farmer’s attitude to keep going. 

On the other hand, livestock are temperamental in nature. The dryness of 2022 led to some of the rams going infertile which could be sensed by the ewes, prolonging the lambing season. The lambs of course are vulnerable too, food shortages during drought impacting their growth rates or the mother’s capability of caring for her lambs, in some cases prioritising their milk and leaving out one of her lambs. The general mood of sheep can decline, they get just as fed up with all the rain as we do! Last summer during periods of constant rainfall, they’d refuse to leave the shed even when the doors were open. 

All in all, we know that the world is ever changing, but so is lambing. It’s always been up to farmers to adapt and make the most of what they’ve got. Thank you so much to Emma for taking the time to talk with me, we hope you have enjoyed watching Lambcam 2024!


By Lowri Couzens, Amgueddfa Cymru Producer



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The Sustainability of Wool for Sustainable Sheep Farming

Gareth Beech, 12 March 2024

As we welcome our new lambs at Llwyn yr Eos farm into the world, I’ve been watching the Welsh farmers’ protests and thinking about their future. 

A significant and contentious part of the Welsh Government’s current proposals for the future of agriculture in Wales are measures to promote environmental sustainability and the restoration of biodiversity. This could mean that in the future there might be far fewer sheep kept in Wales. Sustainable sheep farming using environmentally sensitive methods, producing high value products might be the way. How to create added value would be the challenge, though.

One current aspect of sheep farming that has been the cause of frustration for farmers for many years is the low price of wool. The price of a fleece is often not enough to pay the cost of the shearer to shear it. Some farmers have been known to burn or bury their wool rather than pay to have it collected from the wool depot. St Fagans’s wool goes to the British Wool depot in Brecon, whose mission is to drive demand for the product. There is a real need to find additional value from Welsh wool beyond its conventional use for clothing and textiles. This has led to new research into its possible uses in innovative, and sometimes surprising, new products.


Wool as an alternative insulation material in houses is becoming more widely known, but the range of new products and uses being developed include interior fittings for cars, a specialist ingredient for cosmetics, and insulated covers. Other products have been more ‘home-grown’, developed in gardens and on farms, as a means of finding alternative uses for wool and additional income.

Bangor University’s Biocomposite Centre has been working in partnership with Menter Môn’s ‘Gwnaed â Gwlân - Made with Wool’ project to develop new ideas.  They have identified five products with the potential for creating high value. The number one product with the highest potential earnings is Keratin, a fibrous protein which can be used in cosmetics, hair products, medicines. Keratin from wool is a viable alternative to conventional sources such as human hair and feathers, now ethically debateable, or using petroleum-based products.  

Wool’s insulation properties and natural moisture and temperature controls could also be used in covers for trolleys carrying refrigeration products in supermarkets. They could be a sustainable alternative to using foam materials such as polyurethane.

The Product Design course at Bangor University has produced prototypes for gym equipment handles, and mouldings for car interiors, as sustainable alternatives to foams and plastics. Wool is used with bio-resins made from renewable and biodegradable sources such as plants and wood pulp.

The ‘Solid Wool Company’ is already using the method to produce their ‘Hembury’ solidwool chairs using Welsh Mountain wool, described as creating ‘a striking marbled effect, showcasing the unique layering of textures and tones found in this incredible wool’.

At Gwinllan Conwy Vineyard, Conwy County, mats of wool are laid on the ground at the foot of the vines, deterring pests and weeds, reducing the need to spray chemicals. The fleeces also reflect the sunlight on to the grapes.  Significantly, the quality of the wine has also improved.

In a similar way, wool mats are also effective in vegetable gardens. Repairing footpaths using wool as a base is being tried on Anglesey. It’s a way of trying to find a more sustainable method using a locally produced product, instead of a man-made membrane.


With such a range of new and sustainable uses, l hope the lambs we see being born today will have their fleeces put to good use in the future in sustainable sheep farming, in a sustainable environment.

For more information about the story of wool, visit our National Wool Museum in Dre-fach Felindre, Carmarthenshire.  

National Wool Museum 



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Lambing Challenge for Schools: Win free workshops at Amgueddfa Cymru!

Ffion Rhisiart, 4 March 2024

We are delighted to launch an upcoming new Lambing Challenge for Schools hosted by Amgueddfa Cymru. The winning school will be able to book up to 2 workshops either in person at one of our sites or virtually, from the advertised list on our museum website.

We believe Lambcam sessions are fun and insightful for students, but also an opportunity to foster their curiosity about the world around them.

We want to know how you are using Lambcam in your schools - show us your best moments in class using our Lambcam sessions with the students!


Challenge Details

  • Age Group: 5-14 years
  • Date: 4th - 22nd March 2024
  • How to Participate: Share photographs, videos and artworks on X (formerly Twitter) and don’t forget to tag us using @Amgueddfa_Learn and #Lambcam #Sgrinwyna. If submitting multiple entries from the same school, please mention your class details in the post as well.
  • Prize: The winning school will be able to book up to 2 workshops either in person or virtually, from the advertised list on our museum website.  


Terms and Conditions

  • Entry through X (formerly Twitter) only – please share your photos by tagging @Amgueddfa_Learn and using the hashtags #Lambcam #Sgrinwyna
  • No limit on the number of entries. Schools can have as many classes as they like to participate.
  • Winners will be randomly selected and will be notified by Wednesday 10th of April.
  • The prize is valid for any Amgueddfa Cymru site, subject to availability.
  • The number of pupils must not exceed 60 and is the equivalent to 2 workshops either in person or virtual, from the advertised list on our website.
  • The prize is valid until the end of summer term / end of July 2024. 
  • Workshop dates will be based on availability at the time of arranging a trip. 


Should you have any questions or need further information, please feel free to contact us at lambing@museumwales.ac.uk


We look forward to receiving your creative and insightful submissions!




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Croeso nôl | Welcome back - Lambcam 2024

Ffion Rhisiart, 1 March 2024

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!

We are delighted to be launching this year’s #lambcam on St David’s Day. This is a special year as we’re also celebrating the 10th year that we have streamed live from the lambing sheds at St Fagans! Lambcam 2024 is once again brought to you by a small but dedicated team, who will stream the action live from our lambing shed on 1-22 March between 8am-8pm (GMT).

The Lambcam team is joined by two Amgueddfa Cymru Producers, Howl and Varsha, who will both take turns controlling the camera. They are also busy creating behind-the-scenes footage for Lambcam Extra that will be shared on Amgueddfa Cymru’s social media pages:

Facebook | St Fagans National Museum of History 
Facebook | Amgueddfa Cymru[FR1] [ED2]  
Instagram | Amgueddfa Cymru 
X | Amgueddfa Cymru Learning Department

We're expecting 492 lambs in total with a lambing rate of 190% – it’s promising to be a bumper year! The main headline for us as we start our lambing season is the number of multiples we are anticipating from the December scans. On average, we would expect anything up to 10 sets of triplets per year, but 2024 brings a new record for us with a total of 29 sets of triplets due! We are also expecting 1 set of quads, the first in a few years so there is a lot of excitement for their arrival too.

We currently have all the ewes expecting twins in the larger lambing shed, marked with 1 green dot on their backs. The singles, triplets and quad are in the smaller shed across the yard at the moment but they will be moved once more lambs are born and more space comes available in the larger lambing shed.

We welcome hundreds of schoolchildren to St Fagans and Llwyn-yr-eos Farm during the lambing season every year, but we also know that Lambcam is enjoyed in classrooms across the country, and we would love to hear from you! This year, we are launching a special challenge for schools watching online – more details about this will be announced next week.

For more information about our sheep at lambing time, check out these blogs from previous years: 

 We hope you enjoy watching again this year – and please keep in touch with us by leaving comments on the Lambcam webpage or on socials using #lambcam #sgrinwyna 

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The Roots of 'Unknown Wales': A Conference to Celebrate Welsh Wildlife

Ben Rowson, 20 September 2023

‘Unknown Wales’ is an exciting day of free public natural history talks held each autumn at National Museum Cardiff. It features top speakers from all over Wales, talking about their newest nature discoveries and projects. The talks are short and accessible, and often great fun!

First held in 2011, the bilingual event is a collaboration between Amgueddfa Cymru and the Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales. The conference is a popular highlight in our calendar, regularly attracting over 200 visitors in person and online. The Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre provides a impressive atmosphere in which to hear from people who work on the front line of natural history and nature conservation.

The event was initially created to meet two needs. The first was for a free public conference dedicated to the whole natural history of Wales. From the outset the intention was to cover Zoology, Botany, and Geology – three fundamental aspects of nature that aren’t always dealt with together. It aims to offer an event (and a platform) for everyone with an interest in natural history. The questions from the audience at the end of each talk give a flavour of the enthusiasm that’s out there, as well as the depth of each speakers’ knowledge! Held on a Saturday, the day is unusual in our events calendar in being aimed largely at adults (though anyone aged 12 and over can attend).

The second need was to emphasise that new discoveries are always being made, hence the name “Unknown Wales”. While the event always features famous Welsh nature reserves, familiar species, and well-worn conservation practices, we’ve always encouraged interest in frontiers. Many talks feature recent scientific discoveries (including those made at the Museum itself), or new approaches that are changing how people look at and live with Welsh nature. On occasion there has been controversy, as speakers grapple with the environmental issues and policies of the day. The variety of organisations and projects covered provide inspiration for those looking for career, study or volunteering opportunities in biodiversity.

In total over 80 speakers have helped build Unknown Wales into what it is, and to all of them we are most grateful. Particularly memorable talks include Tim Birkhead on birdsong evolution, Lynne Boddy on the diversity of fungi, Anne Bunker on Welsh seaweeds, and Derek Gow on beaver reintroduction (a situation that has changed drastically since 2011). TV celebrities Rhys Jones, Miranda Krestovnikoff, and Iolo Williams (twice!) have all taken part to lend their support to the initiative.

Subjects covered range from river pollution to heritage trees, caves, coal tips, dolphins, dinosaurs, and eDNA surveys. We have featured the latest updates on iconic species like Red Squirrels, Marsh Fritillaries, Natterjack Toads, and Manx Shearwaters. Plus, of course, the Glutinous Snail…an icon-in-waiting? Another good thing about covering the whole of Wales, including its more remote and quieter places, is that nearly everyone’s milltir sgwâr (square mile) has had a mention!

Several talks have come about through audience suggestions, helping the event evolve. We have sometimes toyed with the format, exhibiting specimens from the Museum collections, supplying goodie-bags, or holding a poster competition, book sale or quiz during the interval. The event moved online in the 2020 pandemic, before adopting the present hybrid event, which allows more people to take part.

Will there be more Unknown Wales to come? You bet! Welsh nature is always full of frontiers and mysteries, which move as times and techniques change. We look forward to the next event, and to many other opportunities to share these with other wildlife lovers.

Details for Unknown Wales 2023 are here.