WD11: Restoration of upland wood pasture and parkland

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the restoration of upland wood pasture and parkland option.

How much will be paid

£371 per hectare (ha).

How long this option lasts

This option lasts for 10 years, instead of the standard 5 years for the grant scheme.

Where to use this option

It’s available for Countryside Stewardship Higher Tier to restore existing Uplands (Inside the SDA) wood pasture and parkland that is in poor condition. Recreational parkland is only eligible where it forms part of the farmed environment.

Features that can be included in this option

You can include the following features if they are part of the land, even if they are not eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).

  • Rivers, streams, ditches, drains and dykes or any open water less than 4 metres (m) wide
  • Ponds or inland standing water less than 100m square in size
  • Unsurfaced roads such as tracks, paths or bridleways
  • Small areas of scrub and woodland that do not qualify for specific scrub, woodland or other options

The adviser will provide information on which features can be included.

How this option will benefit the environment

It restores existing upland wood pasture and parkland on sites that support veteran trees or parkland features

If successful there will be many of the following, depending on whether the site is predominantly wood pasture, parkland or a combination of both.

  • Undisturbed standing and fallen deadwood that will provide habitats for invertebrates
  • Additional semi-mature or mature trees that will provide continuity of the tree population
  • Newly planted trees, spaced evenly with open crowns or patches of regeneration with space to allow open grown crowns to develop
  • Open grown scrub covering 10% to 20% of the wood pasture
  • Flowering trees and scrub such as hawthorn, crab apple and wild pear to provide food and nectar sources for invertebrates
  • well managed unimproved or semi-improved grassland or heathland, grazed by traditional breed cattle in wood-pasture and deer and traditional breed cattle in parkland
  • Well-maintained historic and archaeological features
  • Well-maintained historic designed landscape planting and features


You must:

  • graze or cut to maintain area of closely grazed turf interspersed with taller tussocks
  • keep all mature and veteran standing trees and all standing and fallen deadwood, provided that it is consistent with the National Tree Safety Group document Common sense risk management of trees: landowner summary - leave fallen dead wood uncut and in situ
  • protect existing trees to prevent damage from livestock and wild animals - manage tree guards to prevent any damage to growing trees
  • protect parkland features, such as fencing, historical structures, lakes and ponds
  • plant additional trees or encourage regeneration where required
  • maintain the current water regime and agree all drainage works, including modification to existing drainage in writing with Natural England before undertaking any works
  • carry out maintenance works and minor repairs on structural historic or archaeological features on a ‘like for like’ basis to retain the character of the feature in its local setting

The agreement will set out what you cannot do. It is likely you will not be allowed to:

  • apply any fertilisers or manures
  • use pesticides, except for herbicides to spot tree or weed-wipe for the control of injurious weeds, invasive non-natives, nettles, rushes or bracken
  • use supplementary feeding
  • harrow or roll
  • allow damage to existing trees or vegetation or remove deadwood from the site

Keeping records

On your annual claim you will be asked to declare that you have not carried out any activities prohibited by the option requirements.

You must keep the following records and supply them on request.

  • Any bank statements, receipted invoices, consents or permissions connected with the work
  • Photographs of all trees and standing and fallen deadwood
  • Photographs showing any areas where sward enhancement will be carried out
  • Photographs of water feature and surrounding buffers, clearly showing the extent of any areas of scrub, bracken or pernicious weeds
  • Photographs of structural, historic and archaeological features
  • Photographs of the management taken
  • Photographs of water feature, clearly showing its shape and design and all associated engineering features
  • A monthly record of the number of grazing livestock in each parcel
  • Records of all management activity on the option area for each parcel
  • Photographs of all maintenance works and minor repairs that have been carried out (before and after shots are needed)

The detailed requirements for this option will be tailored to the Higher Tier site. You should discuss and agree these requirements with your adviser.

Related options

You can locate the following options and supplements on the same area as this option.

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this option

The following advice is helpful, but they are not requirements for this item.

Veterinary treatments

Avoid applying veterinary treatments on grazing livestock wherever possible. Chemicals from these treatments could harm the insects and fungi that are typical of wood pasture and parkland.

Maintaining wood pasture and parkland

On historic parkland, provide a detailed Feasibility Study (management plan) tailored to the site, funded through PA2 - Feasibility study.

Use grazing livestock, preferably traditional breed cattle in wood pasture or traditional breed cattle and deer in parkland, to maintain the site. Avoid compaction around veteran trees.

Continuity of veteran tree/dead wood habitat is a major concern on wood pasture. If sufficient semi-mature trees are present consider the creation of dead wood habitat on trees capital item and encourage new trees through natural regeneration if possible or with planting.

Planting new trees

Try to:

  • space out newly planted trees (or patches of natural regeneration) so they are wide enough to grow an open crown
  • pick trees that are suitable as eventual replacements for mature or veteran trees on adjacent sites
  • select tree species appropriate to the historic parkland design but consider varieties or provenances that are resilient to local climate change
  • on wood pasture or a site with veteran trees maintain the genetic stock of the veteran trees - choose varieties that provide the same ecological wood decay conditions as mature or veteran trees already on the site

Consents and permissions

Be aware that a number of consents and permissions may apply.

  • The Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) and Conservation Orders may apply to the trees on site
  • Old trees especially can host European Protected Species, such as bats

Read Managing trees for safety for more information about useful tree management, safety information and felling licence requirements from the Forestry Commission (FC).

Further information

Read these useful guidance booklets for more information on managing ancient or veteran trees:

Read Countryside Stewardship: get funding to protect and improve the land you manage to find out more information about Higher Tier including how to apply.

Published 23 September 2021
Last updated 26 May 2023 + show all updates
  1. Increase in payment rate to £371 per hectare.

  2. First published.