Farmed Landscape

A long-established tradition of mixed farming (of arable, livestock and horticulture) covers over 74% of the AONB. Expansive arable fields are generally on the lower slopes, valley bottoms and plateaux top. Disconnected ‘ribbons’ of permanent grassland (shaves) are along the steep scarp, valley sides, and on less-productive land, grazed by sheep, cattle and increasingly by horses. Locally concentrated areas are also present of orchards, cobnut platts (nut orchards), hop gardens and other horticultural production, whose regular striate form enhances the rise and fall of the land. At a national level, uncertainty hangs over the future policy and funding regimes for agricultural production, agri-environment schemes, and the decisions of farmers generally. At a local level, more farms are coming out of agricultural production, and farm owners with non-agricultural incomes are becoming more common. Provision for leisure including equine activities and shooting, are replacing traditional farming practices.