Forty Farms exhibition at Rheged

03 October 2022

Belted Galloway at Yew Tree Farm

Belted Galloway at Yew Tree Farm

Forty Farms is a new exhibition from British Life Photographer of the Year, Amy Bateman, which opened in the Gallery at Rheged, Penrith on 16 September 2022 and will continue until 4 January 2023.

In March 2021, Amy embarked on a journey to record the stories of Forty Farms in the Lake District and Cumbria, at a pivotal moment for British agriculture.

From the Herdwick-grazed commons to big sky Solway marshes, from isolated farmsteads unchanged in generations to cutting-edge innovation; from world class sheep breeders to award-winning cheese makers, Forty Farms is a visual record of farming during a period of profound change.

Over the course of a year, Amy conducted frank conversations about the financial challenge of farming in a fast-changing world; about the tightrope balance of producing quality food for the nation in sensitive heritage landscapes; and about the challenges and opportunities of working in an area that is internationally famed for its beauty.

The exhibition features contributions from the internationally best-selling author and farmer James Rebanks, from 3-star Michelin Chef and farmer, Simon Rogan of the famous Cartmel restaurant L’Enclume, from veteran damson grower Hartley Trotter, from ‘King of the Herdwicks’ Anthony Hartley and from Tebay’s Low Chapel farm which 50 years ago became a story of farm diversification with the creation of Tebay Services.

The Forty Farms exhibition offers a unique insight into the everyday lives, fears and hopes of 40 extraordinary farmers, through photography, film, and words.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 320-page hardback coffee table book Forty Farms, published by David Felton at Inspired by Lakeland. The exhibition will have free entry and will be supported by a Forty Farms Festival of talks, debates, films, and creative classes which will run from September through to December. 

Photographer Amy Bateman said: “I have tried to reflect the widest possible range of farmers engaged with the widest variety of animals, crops, landscapes, and diversifications.

“The accompanying conversations with farmers, often frank, sometimes funny, and occasionally painful, reflect the critical issues facing farming today.

“All my conversations with the farmers took me to pastures new. Yet among the differing views, over subsidies, land use, organic accreditation, rewilding, tourism, soil, food security and Brexit, there are unifying themes, a commitment to the land and livestock, a belief in community and humour.

“I hope this exhibition will take you beyond the farm gate into the lives of farmers and change perceptions of how the countryside is managed. The rural urban divide feels wider than ever, and my hope is that this exhibition can play a part in narrowing the gulf between food producers, farmers and consumers.”

The Forty Farms exhibition will be in the Gallery, Rheged, Penrith LA8 9NB from now until 4 January 2023.

To find out more about the Forty Farms book or to order a copy, visit

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