Farmers are the traditional guardians of the landscape and their activities can change the character of tracts of land, of whole landscapes.
Specific features associated with farming such as buildings, farm roads and tracks, and walls or fences: all these have an effect on the landscape. They are details, and if present in sufficient quantity can also affect the wider landscape. But land managementcan also affect the character of the wider landscape: reseeding, improved grassland, chemicals, drainage, and overstocking can all have a major impact. We cannot deny our farmers their livelihood but we should look at current rural economics and government policies that support the present trend away from traditional management of the hills.
Traditional farming methods sustained pastures rich in habitats and encouraged healthy regeneration of a diversity of flora and fauna. They worked with the mountains to the benefit of farmers, habitats and the landscape. Modern farmers have little choice but to increase the number of sheep on the mountains without thetraditional shepherding that conserved and encouraged a flourishing mountain ecology