WD12: Creation of upland wood pasture

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

How much will be paid

£333£544 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 create new wood pasture in the uplands (inside the SDA) on one of the following sites:

  • arable, temporary grassland, improved permanent grassland or rough grassland moorland
  • where it extends, links or buffers existing scrub, sites with open grown trees, wood pasture or priority woodland habitats

Use of this option for conversion to wood pasture from other types of woodland may be possible subject to an agreement from the Forestry Commission (FC) and Natural England (NE).

Where this option cannot be used

This option cannot be used on priority woodland habitats such as ASNW or PAWS, without the agreement of FC and NE.

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 100 square metres
  • Unsurfaced roads such as tracks, paths or bridleways
  • Scrub, woodland and other areas normally included in scrub or woodland options

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

How this option will benefit the environment

It will create new wood-pastures.

If successful there will be:

  • undisturbed standing and fallen deadwood providing habitats for invertebrates on land adjacent to that where the creation is being carried out
  • 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 that will provide food and nectar sources for wildlife
  • enhanced grassland sward or heathland, grazed by traditional cattle


To assist you achieving the aims and deliver the environmental benefits for this option, we recommend that you use best practice.

You must:

  • use grazing animals or cut to maintain areas of closely grazed turf interspersed with taller tussocks
  • keep deadwood in or around standing trees, if any is present on site
  • protect trees to prevent damage from livestock and wild animals. Manage tree guards to protect any damage to growing trees
  • plant additional trees or encourage regeneration trees and scrub
  • limit use of supplementary feed

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

  • use pesticides, except for herbicides to spot-treat or weed-wipe for the control injurious weeds, invasive non-natives, nettles, rushes or bracken
  • plough, cultivate or re-seed, except as part of an agreed sward enhancement programme
  • harrow or roll
  • apply fertilisers or manures
  • make any changes to existing drainage without having written agreement from Natural England
  • supplementary feed without agreement (except mineral blocks)

Keeping records

On your annual claim you will be asked to declare that you haven’t 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
  • A monthly record of the number of grazing livestock in each parcel
  • Records of all management activity on the option area for each parcel, including associated invoices
  • Photographs of each tree entered into the option
  • Photographs of trees and standing and fallen deadwood
  • Photographs of the management taken
  • Maps or photographs for sites that have previously been wood pasture

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

The following options and supplements can be located 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 veterinary treatments on livestock that graze on these sites. Chemicals from these treatments could harm the insects and fungi that are typical of wood pasture.

Maintaining wood pasture

Use grazing livestock, preferably traditional breed cattle, to establish and maintain the site.

Planting new trees

Try to:

  • space out newly planted trees or regeneration so they are wide enough to grow an open crown
  • pick varieties that are suitable as eventual replacements for nearby mature and veteran trees, ideally using the same genetic stock

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

Further information

Read the following guidance booklets for more information on managing wood pasture with ancient or veteran trees:

Read moreCountryside informationStewardship: aboutget Countrysidefunding Stewardshipto Higherprotect Tierand improve the land you manage to find out more information about theHigher schemeTier andincluding how to apply.

Published 23 September 2021
Last updated 3026 May 20222023 + show all updates
  1. Increase in payment rate to £544 per hectare.

  2. 'Where to use this option' section updated, and a new section 'Where this option cannot be used' added.

  3. 'Where to use this option' section has been updated.

  4. Update to payment rate.

  5. First published.