AN EXHIBITION into hill farming in Teesdale and Weardale hopes to shine some light onto the isolated communities.

Opening at St Thomas' Church, Stanhope, and St James-the-Less Church, Forest-in-Teesdale, the exhibition – titled Hefted to Hill – is a culmination of work by artist, sculptor and dry stone waller Ewan Allinson and photographers Louise Taylor and Richard Glynn.

The Northern Heartland arts council has funded the project for more than a year. Its mission is to “deliver cultural activities that transform people’s understanding of the heritage, landscapes and places they live in, building their confidence and ability to influence policy and decision-making”.

The project is about documenting the voices of the hill farmers who claim they are usually ignored by the policies of DEFRA and the NUF – despite the promise that Natural England would work closely with hill farmers – and creating a platform for them to air their views.

This also comes at a time when Brexit is causing a shift in agricultural policy and the isolated hill farmers feel they could get forgotten, despite playing an important part in delivering public goods and managing the landscape.

Ewan believes hill farmers should have more of a say in the policy they follow rather than those in Westminster, as their knowledge remains untapped.

He said: “Farmers are the professors of the landscape but rarely get a voice.

“The expertise of hill famers has a value to the nation that is rarely acknowledged by policy makers and is largely unknown to the public. I hope Hefted to Hill can correct this.”

Ewan agreed to build and repair the dry stone walls, that are used to divide the land, for farmers in return for their participation in the project.

Seven hill farmers in the dales contributed to the work, offering their thoughts, their wisdom and their experiences.

Walking into the church, visitors will be transported on to the hills with audio of the farmers and the nature,as they walk amongst the photographs and artwork.

The Stanhope church will also feature a sculpture created by the children of Stanhope Primary School along with poems and drawings. One unique piece that has been created is a lampshade that reflects the seasons through the eyes of a shepherd.

Dr Sarah Haynes chair of the board of governors at Stanhope Barrington primary school said: “Hill farmers have a unique way of life like no other farmer and the exhibition reflects that.”

The multi-media exhibition will be open from 10am to 4pm, each day until July 28.