WD6: Creation of wood pasture

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

How much will be paid

£409 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

Available for Higher Tier

Only to create new wood pasture on one of the following sites:

  • where wood pasture was once present, including ones under arable land
  • where it extends, links or buffers existing wood pasture or priority woodland habitats

Features that can be included in this option

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

  • rivers, streams, ditches, drains and dykes or any open water less than 4m 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


Agreement holders are likely to need to:

  • use grazing animals or cut to maintain areas of closely grazed turf interspersed with taller tussocks
  • retain deadwood in or around standing trees, if any 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 must not be done. It is likely agreement holders 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 (except for the provision of mineral blocks) without agreement

Keeping records

Agreement holders will need to 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

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:

  • photographs of newly established trees (whether planted or naturally regenerated)
  • photographs of completed sward enhancement work

Applicants are likely to have to send the following with their application:

  • photographs of any proposed areas to enhance a sward
  • a map of the drainage system
  • for sites adjacent to or linking existing wood pasture, maps or photographs of veteran trees/parkland that it connects to
  • for sites that have previously been wood pasture, proof demonstrated by maps or photographs

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

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

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 more about useful tree management and safety information from the Forestry Commission (FC).

Further information

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

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. Updated information for applications in 2016.
  3. First published.