Farming in the Esk Valley area
Agriculture is an important 'industry' to the Esk Valley. As well as producing food to eat, wool and leather to clothe us, the farmers over generations have shaped the landscape that we enjoy now, and continue to maintain and enhance it as each generation hands over to the next.
Anywhere you look in the Esk Valley area there is the evidence of some farmer's labours, be it the hedgerows by the side of the road, or the 'jigsaw puzzle for adults' that is the correctly built dry stone wall.
The sheep keep the the village greens neatly cropped and the moors from returning to wild scrub. Suckler cows graze the in-bye land surrounding farmsteads and produce fine quality beef for the dinner plate. Although not as lush as some areas, there are still a few dairy farms producing milk and occasionally, where the land allows, arable crops are grown for human consumption or animal fodder.
Please remember as you walk across or through farmland that you are walking through someone's work area and treat it with some respect. Please stick to footpaths, leave gates as found, and don't be tempted to climb walls or hedges to make a shortcut. If you find an animal that is unwell or in distress do please try and find a farmer and ask for his or her help.
Many farms have diversified to provide tourist accommodation and so if you are interested in finding out about agriculture in this part of the world, then actually staying on a farm, may be one of the best ways of doing so. Farmers have diversified in many other ways in order to support the diminishing returns earned from traditional farming, meaning that many farmers in the dales have more than one 'string to their bow'.