BE5: Creation of traditional orchards

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the creation of traditional orchards option.

How much will be paid

£281 per hectare (ha).

How long the option lasts

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

Where to use this option

Available for Higher Tier

Whole and part-parcel

Only on:

  • traditional orchards (apple, pear, cherry, plum, damson or cobnut plats) where less than one-third of the original stations are occupied by trees over 25 years old
  • sites with evidence (such as maps or photographs) that a traditional orchard was once there - this includes sites currently under arable cultivation
  • sites where creation extends, links or buffers existing areas of a traditional orchard

Features that can be included in this option

The following features can be included if they are part of the parcel, even if they are ineligible for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).

  • ditches
  • drains
  • dykes
  • rivers and streams (boundary or internal

The features must be less than 4m wide for the majority of their length in the parcel.

How this option will benefit the environment

If successful there will be a well-managed traditional orchard with a range of healthy young and old trees. This includes established grass, tall bushy hedges, scrub and tall herb vegetation abundant with invertebrates, birds and wildflowers.


Agreement holders are likely to need to:

  • establish and then manage grassland by grazing or hay cutting
  • maintain the characteristic tree form by pruning
  • restore tree numbers
  • protect trees from damage by livestock
  • keep and protect all mature and over-mature standing trees
  • keep some standing deadwood and some deadwood on living trees
  • use no manures, fertilisers, pesticides or supplementary feed
  • control scrub and invasive species

Do not:

  • plough, cultivate or re-seed
  • roll or harrow

Keeping records

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them on request:

  • receipted invoices, consents or permissions connected with the work
  • records of all management activity on the option area for each parcel
  • dates and locations of formative or maintenance pruning carried out for each parcel
  • a base map or table showing the location, species, rootstock, variety and age class of trees present in each parcel
  • a monthly record of stock numbers grazing each parcel

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

You should also be aware that at the start of each claim year, a percentage of agreement holders will be asked to take and submit the following photographic records:

  • if managing by hay cutting, photographs of the areas cut and uncut in each parcel
  • photographs of cut areas of scrub
  • photographs of each tree and all standing deadwood entered into the option in support of an annual claim

Applicants will have to send the following with their application:

  • a map of existing land drainage in each parcel
  • a photograph of trees entered into the option

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

These 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 section gives advice on carrying out this option successfully but does not form a part of the requirements for this option.

Traditional orchards

Traditional orchards are defined as groups of fruit and nut trees planted on vigorous rootstocks at low densities in permanent grassland, and managed in a low intensity way. Cobnut plats are included.

Preventing weeds

Prevent weeds from competing with newly planted trees for water and nutrients. Keep a 1m diameter circle clear of all vegetation for at least the first 3 years after planting.

Further information

See the Higher Tier manual to find out more about the scheme and how to apply.

Published 2 April 2015
Last updated 10 March 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated for 2017 applications.
  2. Information updated for applications in 2016.
  3. First published.