SP1: Difficult sites supplement

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the difficult sites supplement.

How much is paid

£62 per hectare (ha).

Where to use this supplement

Available for Higher Tier

Only in combination with a land management option on whole parcels if either of these apply:

  • where grazing management has been abandoned or is in danger of abandonment
  • on parcels less than 1ha in area with stockproof traditional boundaries, including banks, hedges, walls or wet ditches (gateways must be less than 3.6m wide)

Where this supplement cannot be used

With UP3 - Management of moorland

The Isles of Scilly

In the Isles of Scilly it can be used in combination with a land management option on whole parcels if any of these apply:

  • on arable land up to and including 0.4ha in area
  • on arable fields up to and including 5ha in area that are sub-divided into small bulb fields no bigger than 0.4ha, and are bounded by granite walls or salt tolerant shrub hedges (‘fences’)
  • on pastoral fields up to and including 2ha in area

How this supplement will benefit the environment

It supports the management of particularly difficult sites. It also retains small fields and their locally characteristic boundary pattern.


Agreement holders are likely to need to keep boundaries and, where required, reintroduce grazing.

Keeping records

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

  • stock records to show grazing activity on parcels

Applicants will need to send the following with their application:

  • map identifying access gateways
  • confirmation that the eligibility requirements are met

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

This supplement can be located on the same area as the following supplements:

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this supplement

The following section gives advice on carrying out this supplement successfully but does not form part of the requirements for this supplement

This supplement is available at the discretion of Natural England on sites that need an exceptionally high and sustained time and labour input.

Examples include sites:

  • with very poor accessibility, remoteness or isolation, where it Is very difficult to walk livestock or to transport livestock to the site
  • with hazards to personnel and livestock within or next to the site, such as:
    • cliffs or extremely steep slopes or screes
    • spate riverside land
    • islands
    • mineshafts
    • landslips
    • subsidence
    • gullies
    • with hazards to livestock, such as:
    • poisonous vegetation from which stock cannot be excluded
    • regular disturbance by dogs
    • urban fringe locations
    • where it is very difficult to locate stock within a site for welfare checks

Where this supplement cannot be used

The supplement is not intended for:

  • mechanical vegetation control - supplements such as GS15 - Haymaking supplement or a capital item are more appropriate
  • sites currently grazed to acceptable levels for nature conservation
  • sites where grazing is not secured for the lifetime of the agreement
  • small parcels which are not stockproof or are not managed individually

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.