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Geography

Farming in rural areas

Distribution of farming

Physical factors will determine which type of farming takes place in a particular area. Climate and relief are the dominant factors in determining which crops will grow and which animals are suited to the landscape.

Human factors, such as proximity to markets, are important with some types of farming, such as market gardening.

Map showing distribution of farming in UK

Map showing distribution of farming in UK

Arable farming

Arable farming is common in the south east where the summers are warm and the land is low, flat and fertile. The south east also has good transport links and farms are close to markets in towns and cities such as London.

Market gardening

Human factors such as finance and proximity to markets are important to market gardening. It is common in East Anglia where fruit, vegetables and flowers are grown.

Hill sheep farming

Hill sheep farming takes place in the north and west of Britain in highland areas such as Snowdonia and the Lake District. There are cool summers and high rainfall. The climate and steep land make these areas unsuitable for growing crops.

Dairy farming

Dairy farming is common in the south west and the west of England where the climate is warm and wet. There are also good transport links and good access routes to markets in these areas. The land may be flat or hilly, but not too steep.

Mixed farming

Mixed farming is found in areas where the climate and relief suit both crops and animals. It needs to be warm, but not too wet, and the soils need to be fertile and flat. Mixed farms need good transport links and accessibility to markets.

Case study: Cambridgeshire

Cambridgeshire is one of the most agriculturally productive areas in Europe. The area is used for arable farming because of:

  • Physical factors
    • Low lying land
    • Well-drained soil
    • Warm summers (18°C in July)
  • Human factors
    • Good access to markets
    • Large areas of farmland so larger machines can be used
    • Investment by companies - farms are owned by large companies able to use economies of scale [economies of scale: When big companies can produce things cheaper than smaller companies. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, they can buy in bulk, so can negotiate with suppliers to pay less. Secondly, the more a company produces the lower the average cost per product will be of overheads (fixed costs, such as buildings). ]

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