Northumberland farmers open their gates to visitors

A previous Open Farm Sunday at North Bellshill Farm, Belford.
A previous Open Farm Sunday at North Bellshill Farm, Belford.

Farmers all over the country will be opening their gates so people can find out just where their food comes from.

Hundreds of farms are taking part in the tenth Open Farm Sunday on June 7, an annual event organised by LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) to celebrate British farming and food.

It provides a great opportunity for people to visit a farm to get to know how their food is produced and how the countryside around them is cared for.

Among the farms opening on the day is North Bellshill Farm at Belford, farmed by John and Helen Renner.

Visitors can walk through the farm, experience the wildlife and take a look at the family’s farming practices, go pond dipping, learn about the heritage of potatoes and find out how to grow your own.

Bellshill is a traditional mixed family farm. The Renner family has farmed in this area formore than 400 years.

Helen said: “The farm is split over two sites extending to 500 acres. We have a herd of home-bred ewes and suckler cows.

“The highest point on our farm is 170metres above sea level, and there are some excellent views over the countryside.

“Our strong tradition of combining environmental care with practical farming runs right through the business.

“We are a LEAF demonstration farm, highlighting our dedication to sustainable farming.”

North Bellshill will be open from 10am to 4pm on Open Farm Sunday.

Over the past 10 years, 1,000 farmers have hosted Open Farm Sundays, attracting 1.25million visitors.

Last year, one out of every five visitors had never been to a farm before and 85 per cent said that they learnt something new about farming.

For more information, and details of other farms taking part, visit


Food production

Farmers are responsible for producing 60 per cent of the food that we eat in the UK.

Land covered

Some 17.3million hectares of land is used for agriculture in the UK, 71 per cent of our land area and the equivalent of 24million football pitches.

Farm employment

There are 101,000 farms in England, 42,000 in Wales and 53,000 in Scotland, employing 464,000 people.


On UK farms, there are more than 9.8million cows, nearly 33million sheep, nearly 4.9million pigs and 163million chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese and other poultry.

Crops grown

6.3million hectares are used for crops, including 1.6million hectares of wheat; 1.2million hectares of barley; 177,0000 hectares of oats; 24,000 hectares of oilseed rape; 139,000 hectares of potatoes; and 3,000 hectares of glasshouse crops such as salads.