HE2: Historic building restoration

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the historic building restoration item.

How much will be paid

Up to 80% of actual costs.

Where to use this item

Available as a standalone item.

This is a pilot grant scheme only available for buildings situated within the boundaries of the following National Parks:

  • Dartmoor
  • Lake District
  • Northumberland
  • Peak District
  • Yorkshire Dales

Only on roofed buildings, identified as a priority by Natural England for funding within Countryside Stewardship, which will be repaired in line with historic building restoration guidance principles. These are:

  • non-residential buildings built with traditional materials and methods in a characteristic local, vernacular or ‘designed’ architectural style
  • ornamental or architecturally designed buildings – for example, those on model farms, or in parklands or designed landscapes

Where this item cannot be used

  • on modern buildings made from concrete, timber or steel frames and clad in materials such as concrete, breeze blocks, tiles, fibre cement sheeting or profiled metal sheeting
  • on structures such as bridges
  • on ruined buildings (more than 50% of the building has been lost)
  • on converted historic buildings - such as to residential, holiday accommodation or commercial use - or a home’s ancillary building, such as garages
  • on buildings previously funded under an agri-environment scheme

How this item will benefit the environment

It is for conserving and lengthening the life of rural buildings that contribute to the character and enjoyment of the landscape and are of historic interest.

The work will prevent further decay to the fabric of historic buildings and benefit their long-term survival.


  • agree a specification with your local National Park adviser, develop a detailed management plan and then send at least 3 written quotations identifying all associated costs for completing the work in line with the specification
  • agree the selected quotation with Natural England
  • complete the work as set out in the approved management plan within the agreed time
  • get any relevant consents before carrying out the work, such as scheduled monument consent from Historic England or listed building consent from the local planning authority

Protecting and maintaining the buildings

After the work has been completed the building will need to be protected and maintained in a weatherproof condition for a period of 5 years from completion of the work and final grant payment. This includes fixtures and fittings and nearby associated features, such as mounting blocks and stack or stook bases.

The character of the building, in its local setting, will need to be kept – with maintenance works and minor repairs carried out on a like-for-like basis using traditional material and methods.

Keeping records

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

  • any consents or permissions connected with the work
  • photographs of the building before works start
  • the specification and schedule of works for all the work to be completed - once approved, these will form a mandatory part of the agreement
  • please see the record keeping and inspection requirements as set out in the historic buildings restoration grant manual for more detail

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them with the claim:

  • receipted invoices and bank statements
  • photographs of the site during the different stages of construction or contracts, invoices or other documents confirming the technical specification for the completed works
  • photographs of the completed works in place and installed

Applicants will need to send the following with their application:

  • the 3 quotes for completion of the work

The detailed requirements for this item will be tailored to the site. Applicants should discuss and agree these requirements with their National Park adviser.

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this item

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

There is no standard specification for building restoration and all work will be tailored to the individual site. A specification will need to be agreed with the relevant National Park adviser and Natural England.

Before applying for this item a management plan will be required to identify the restoration work and costs, and can be applied for through PA2 - Feasibility study.

Project planning

Guidance on restoring and repairing historic buildings is available in the historic buildings restoration grant manual and through your National Park local adviser. It will explain which work is eligible and the repair principles to follow.

This item cannot be used for management plans for historic building restoration - use PA2 - Feasibility study.

Further information

Historic England has a guide to restoring and maintaining historic farm buildings.

There is a lot of competition for this capital item. Any buildings applied for will be assessed separately to identify the best and highest priority historic building restoration projects.

The assessment will include thinking about how the building:

  • adds to the area’s landscape character
  • can offer or retain wildlife habitat or nest sites
  • offers the public access

Natural England will also look at:

  • the sort of work that needs doing
  • how urgent the repair work is
  • whether Countryside Stewardship is the most appropriate grant for restoring the building - this is because it cannot be used to fund converting the building to an alternative use, such as residential or commercial use

See the historic buildings restoration grant manual to find out more about the scheme and how to apply.

Published 2 April 2015
Last updated 29 March 2018 + show all updates
  1. Amended following new historic buildings restoration grant in 5 National Parks.

  2. Changed to Standalone capital item - previously Higher Tier.

  3. Updated for 2017 applications.

  4. Information updated in March 2016.

  5. First published.