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Farming in Lake
UK farming contributed £5.8 billion to our economy in
2007 (as measured by Gross Value Added at basic
prices). It uses around three quarters of this country's
land area, and employs over half a million people.
"A classic glaciated valley with the green fertile land"
The upland climate of the Lake District is harsh with low temperatures, high rainfall, thin soils and
exposed steep gradients. This limits the type of farming that can be practised here, the most
common being hill sheep farming but cattle are grazed in lowland areas.
pt#258,3,So what are the land uses in the Lake District?
Main land uses in Lake District
Farming in the Lake District is dominated by sheep farming, because most of the land is unsuitable
for other types of farming because:
Podzol soils are leached by the heavy rain and have little humus.
The slopes are very steep, which makes the use of machinery very difficult.
The climate. Temperatures are low, which leads to a very short growing season, and cloudy
conditions do not encourage plant growth.
The Lake District is quite remote. The nearest large settlement is about 150km away,
therefore farmers cannot grow perishable produce.
There is some cattle grazing on the valley floors, where the land is too marsh to grow crops.
For example, a farmer might have an idea to open a shop on his farm to sell local produce, crafts
and even maps and walking gear. He could go to the local plan and discover that generally "Retail
development.... located in open countryside will not normally be permitted". However there is an
exception for farm shops providing they are small scale, contribute to farm diversification,
concentrate on local produce and would not cause any harm to the quality of the local environment.
This is all laid out in detail so he could amend his plans to fit in with the Local Plan, e.g. a smaller
shop in an existing building which includes local crafts may improve his chances
of gaining planning permission.
The character and appearance of the Lake District is very much a product of the traditional
farming methods followed by generations of Lake District farmers. The small enclosed fields in the
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A viable sustainable agriculture industry is essential in
maintaining the landscape. It also plays a very important part in the culture and traditions of the
area and is the core of many valley communities. The pressures and demands on the farmers are
diverse. The adverse effects of agricultural intensification need to continue to be addressed. There
is also a need to assist farmers and landowners to manage the recreational use of their land, while
maintaining appropriate access.…read more