Field facilities

The school’s main field facility, Henfaes Research Centre, is located at Abergwyngregyn – about 7 miles from Bangor and totals an area of 252 hectares. Henfaes offers unrivalled opportunities to study diverse environments from sea-level to amongst the highest land in Snowdonia, all on one farm. The lowland area provides facilities for research and teaching in lowland agriculture (including arable crops and livestock grazing), forestry, hydrology, environmental science and conservation. It also has an extensive shoreline for studying coastal salt marsh processes. Alongside this active commercial farming continues a tradition that has been ongoing within Bangor University since 1910.

Henfaes represents one of Defra’s key sustainable intensification platform (SIP) sites, where the potential to increase livestock production whilst also reducing greenhouse gas emissions is being explored.

Henfaes is also an Innovation Centre for LEAF and an Innovation Site for the Welsh Government's Farming Connect programme.

Research facilities at Henfaes

Our field facilities have dedicated field staff, fully equipped laboratories as well as meeting facilities for knowledge exchange. Current work undertaken at our field facilities are sponsored by a wide range of stakeholders including Welsh Government, DEFRA, BBSRC, NERC, European Union and industry. Research facilities at Henfaes include:

  • Two modern laboratories with associated equipment for sample preparation and some on-site analyses
  • Computer controlled glasshouse facilities (including a 24-tank lysimeter)
  • Growth rooms
  • An automatic weather station with telemetry data transfer
  • Henfaes is a site in the NERC-funded COSMOS-UK network for monitoring soil moisture
  • Long-term pasture, crop, agroforestry, forestry and soil science experimental covering 40 ha
  • 16 solardomes (managed by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology), currently being used for ozone related work
  • Meeting rooms and offices
  • Demonstration crop plots, often with industry for commercial research and demonstration events
  • The Bangor silvo-pastoral agroforestry experiment
  • Ash provenance trial

Teaching at Henfaes

Teaching activities include sampling and data collection exercises at undergraduate level and student-led project work at undergraduate, taught-postgraduate and postgraduate-research levels.

Centre for Hill and Upland Management (CHUM)

Henfaes is the location for the Centre for Hill and Upland Management (CHUM), which is managed as a commercial sheep unit with 1,650 pure bred Welsh Mountain ewes and 12 pedigree (Section A) Welsh Mountain ponies.

CHUM’s objective is to undertake commercial agricultural activities with best environmental practice, whilst returning a viable profit. A significant proportion of the upland landholding has protected area status under UK legislation (Site of Special Scientific Interest, National Nature Reserve) and under the EU Habitats Directive (Special Area of Conservation). Consequently, the upland area has been managed since 2000 under the terms of the higher-level, all-Wales agri-environment scheme, now Glastir. Previous to this, a decision was taken in 1985 not to use synthetic fertilisers on the upland area. This provides opportunities to study the impacts of reduced stocking-rate management regimes on the vegetation and reversion from agriculturally improved land to semi and unimproved status.

CHUM contains a range of grassland types as well as coniferous forest blocks and deciduous forest. We also have access to the high mountain above CHUM for undertaking research on peats and heathlands.

We are a member of the Aber and Llanfairfechan Common Graziers Association, with grazing rights for the common land areas of the Carneddau mountain range (owned by the National Trust). The common contains sensitive montane (above the treeline) habitats and species of UK and European conservation interest.


Arial footage of Henfaes Research Centre, Abergwyngregyn.

Henfaes Research Centre

Arial footage of Henfaes Research Centre, Abergwyngregyn.