This extraordinary place is famous for its amazing wildlife, stunning scenery, and superb walks. From the seasonal abundance of stunning butterflies to the shining sands of Morecambe Bay, the area is simply awe-inspiring - full of natural spectacles and a surprise around every corner.
The farmed landscape
Look at the Arnside & Silverdale AONB and you will see a landscape which has been hugely influenced by centuries of land management. Working the land is the foundation of the rural economy; the long-standing cultures of low-intensity pasture management and woodland coppice have created much of the distinctive landscape character we see today and the area remains a living working landscape.
Today 56% of the AONB is farmed, the majority of this is pasture for livestock grazing, predominantly beef and dairy cattle and sheep. Cattle and sheep graze the limestone grasslands in the autumn and winter, meadows are cut for hay or silage to provide winter feed for livestock and fields are enclosed by drystone walls and hedgerows.
In the past certain agricultural practices have improved the value of the land for farming but have had a significant impact on the natural habitats and wildlife. Going forwards it is recognised that farming has a key role to play in restoring a more connected landscape for wildlife, keeping air and water clean and improving soils whilst also producing quality food and maintaining a viable business.
Maintaining an economically viable and sustainable land management sector will be essential to delivering the AONB purpose into the future.
Environmental land management schemes provide funding and support for farmers and land managers to deliver sensitive environmental management on their land. There has been a significant uptake of Environmental Stewardship within the AONB, however overall coverage has decreased recently.
Farming within the AONB has diversified over the years to encompass a range of non-agricultural activities.
Rural skills such as hedge laying, drystone walling, coppice management and maintenance of traditional orchards are vital for maintaining the tradition landscape and habitats of the area. The AONB Partnership supports this, providing training sessions and hosting ‘Apple Day’ and one of the Lancashire and Westmorland Hedgelaying Association annual ‘grand prix’ competitions.