Written by the Prince's Foundation.

Princes Foundation Logo

Alan Jones - Conservationist and Master Thatcher

Alan is the founder of Pembrokeshire Thatch and Carpentry Services. A carpenter by first trade, he is now involved in timber work and thatching. He specialises in growing his own thatching wheat, which is used for both thatching purposes and as an agricultural product. His belief in and passion for his craft means that he also teaches and trains others in crop and wetland management.

Photo of Alan

Alan Jones:
“Only 150 years ago, in rural Wales the majority of roofs were thatched. As a by-product of food production, straw was freely available; this is a process I am passionate to preserve. With the majority of thatching materials now coming from places such as China, home-grown traditional methods are rapidly being lost. To promote this food and shelter crop, mid-Wales farmers, David & Graham Morris and I are experimenting with growing ancient or early varieties of organically grown wheat as these are an important part of our cultures evolution. As modern wheat struggles to grow without fungicides, pesticides, and herbicides, an increasing dependence on petrochemical fertilisers is forming; older varieties of wheat actually thrive on poor soil. The implications for sustainable agriculture is hard to miss. I am increasingly involved with training the next generation and helping to regenerate farming alongside wetland management. This keeps the sustainable link alive, a process that started when our ancestors stopped being nomadic and started animal and crop husbandry some considerable time ago. For the past two years, I have been working with the Prince’s Foundation on its Building Skill in Summer programme. Being so passionate about training the next generation, I am heartened by the feedback I get from students. The Prince’s Foundation gives mentors and students alike a chance to make positive change. Not everyone in the community will adopt our values, but letting them know it simply exists is a huge step in the right direction. Keeping the knowledge alive is better than trying to learn it from a book.”