There are 40 farms on the Estate, covering 20,000 acres. Most of them are upland sheep farms, the most popular breed is the Swaledale which copes well with the more challenging climate at high altitude. What makes the farms distinctive is the pattern of small fields, many edged with dry stone walls, which forms the backdrop for the traditional stone houses and small barns that make up the farmsteads. The farms lower down the dale and beside the River Ure occupy a gentler more wooded landscape supporting a mixture of dairy, livestock and arable farming.
Masham is well known in the agricultural world as being the home to the prized Masham breed of sheep which have been bred on the hill farms in the North of England for over a century. They are produced by crossing a Teeswater ram onto either a Dalesbred or Swaledale ewe – both hardy hill breeds. The Masham sheep is popular for being hardy, having good mothering instincts, and also for its long wool.