Farmers generally do not have access to winter fodder for their cattle, therefore, sheep farms are typical for such areas. Due to this restricted access, farmers move the herds to lower elevations for feeding. These specific farms are found in the North and South-Western areas of England, as well as the highlands of Scotland. The harsh climate, poor soil and lack of level fields play a major part in the distinction of these lands. These farms also play a major role in the development of the ecosystem, culture and a large portion of the economy.
The three parts of most hill farms are: the high fell, which contains a mixture of wet and dry shrubbery and rocky terrain; the alotment, where most of the grazing occurs; and the inbye, being at the bottom, where the sheep and cattle graze the most, and where farmers grow hay for the winter fodder.
The practice of hill farming has, for several hundred years, formed the particular ecosystem found in these areas. The grazing sheep and cattle kept the level of growth on trees and scrub to a minimum, thus allowing various species of birds and insects to thrive. Due to this consistent style of farming, the land has become highly dependent on this process.
Over the last century this area has seen a change in its ecosystem. Climate, as well as human involvement, have created a lack of use with the farm animals, thus, creating an endangerment to all that depend on hill farms.
Image Caption: Hill farming countryside by the Arkland Burn An improved grazing field surrounded by rough grazing between Far Hill and Arkland Rig. Viewed from Arkland Craig in the adjoining square. Credit: Walter Baxter/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)