THE Lake District’s first open Fell Gather has been hailed a great success after it attracted hundreds of locals and tourists to see how a traditional Herdwick farm works.
The event, held at Knott Houses Farm, Grasmere, showcased the vital work of hill farmers and how they help to shape and preserve the landscape of the Cumbrian uplands.
Organised by the Herdwick Sheep Breeders’ Association (HSBA) and backed by Taste Cumbria, the Fell Gather featured shepherds working with livestock in the farming environment, close to the fells where the sheep graze.
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Mary Houston, from Taste Cumbria, said: “Herdwick breeders were delighted with the day; it gave them the opportunity to meet and educate more than 300 residents and tourists about the vital work of hill farming in Cumbria.
“It was a rare opportunity for the Herdwick community to meet and celebrate the success of their work alongside the Prince’s Countryside Fund, as well as influence key decision makers about the future of the work of the breeders’ association.
“Flanked by a suite of high quality Herdwick products, from carpets to hot hogget roles, the day represented the Cumbrian cultural landscape as significant, iconic, high quality and progressive offering, to tourists and residents, and the wider agricultural community alike.”
HSBA chairman Will Rawling said: “It’s vitally important to educate the public about the role hill farmers play not just in producing food, but managing the landscapes we all love in the lakes.
“We’re working to create better understanding of how the countryside works. Hill farming is more than just farming – it’s about managing and preserving the landscape. It’s important and unrecognised work.”
Exhibitors at the Fell Gather included Ian Lawson, selling prints from his ‘Herdwick – a Portrait of Lakeland book, The Herdy Company, Cherchbi, Wools of Cumbria Carpets, and refreshments from Tim Brown of Amazing Grazing.