WD4: Management of wood pasture and parkland
Find out about eligibility and requirements for the management of wood pasture and parkland option.
How much will be paid
£46 per hectare (ha).
Where to use this option
Available for Higher Tier
Only for managing existing lowland wood pasture and parkland in good condition. Recreational parkland is only eligible where it forms part of the farmed environment.
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 4 metres wide
- ponds or inland standing water less than 100 square metres
- unsurfaced roads such as tracks, paths or bridleways
- small areas of scrub and woodland that do not qualify for specific scrub, woodland or other options
The adviser will provide information on which features can be included.
How this option will benefit the environment
It will maintain existing lowland wood pasture and parkland on sites that still support mature and veteran trees.
If successful there will be many of the following, depending on whether the site is predominantly wood pasture, parkland or a combination of both:
- undisturbed standing and fallen deadwood that will provide habitats for invertebrates
- additional semi-mature of mature trees that will provide continuity of the tree population
- 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
- well managed unimproved or semi-improved grassland or heathland, grazed by traditional cattle in wood pasture and deer and traditional cattle in parkland
- well maintained historic and archaeological features
- well maintained historic designed landscape planting features
Agreement holders are likely to need to:
- graze and/or cut to maintain area of closely grazed turf interspersed with taller tussocks
- retain all mature and veteran standing trees and all standing and fallen deadwood, provided that it is consistent with the National Tree Safety Group document Common Sense risk management of trees: Landowner Summary. Fallen dead wood must be left uncut and in situ
- protect existing trees to prevent damage from livestock and wild animals. Manage tree guards to prevent any damage to growing trees
- protect parkland features, such as fencing, historic structures, lakes and ponds
- plant additional trees or encourage regeneration where required
- maintain the current water regime and agree all drainage works, including modification to existing drainage in writing with Natural England before undertaking any works
- carry out maintenance works and minor repairs on structural historic or archaeological features on a ‘like for like’ basis to retain the character of the feature in its local setting
The agreement will set out what must not be done. It is likely agreement holders will not be allowed to:
- use apply any fertilisers or manures
- use pesticides, except for herbicides to spot tree or weed-wipe for the control of injurious weeds, invasive non-natives, nettles, rushes or bracken
- plough, cultivate or re-seed
- use supplementary feeding
- harrow or roll
- allow damage to existing trees or vegetation or remove deadwood from the site
Agreement holders are likely to need to keep the following records and supply them on request:
- any bank statements, receipted invoices or permissions connected with the work
- photographs of trees and standing and fallen deadwood - send these with the final claim
- photographs of water levels at certain times of the year for specific water features and water bodies
- photographs of structural, historic and archaeological features - send these with the final claim
- 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.
Applicants are likely to have to send the following with their application:
- photographs of all trees and standing and fallen deadwood
- photographs of any proposed areas to enhance a sward
- a map of the drainage system
For parklands, they are also likely to have to send:
- photographs/records of structural historic and archaeological features
- photographs/records of built water bodies showing their depth, shape, profile and design
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:
- BE3 – Management of hedgerows
- BE6 - Veteran tree surgery
- GS15 - Haymaking supplement
- GS16 - Rush infestation control supplement
- OR1 - Organic conversion - improved permanent grassland
- OR2 - Organic conversion - unimproved permanent grassland
- OT1 - Organic land management - improved permanent grassland
- OT2 - Organic land management - unimproved permanent grassland
- SP1 - Difficult sites supplement
- SP3 - Bracken control supplement
- SP4 - Control of invasive plant species supplement
- SP6 - Cattle grazing supplement
- SP8 - Native breeds at risk supplement
- SP9 - Threatened species supplement
- WT3 – Management of ditches of high environmental value
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.
Avoid applying veterinary treatments on grazing livestock wherever possible. Chemicals from these treatments could harm the insects and fungi that are typical of wood pasture and parkland.
Maintaining wood pasture and parkland
On historic parkland, provide a detailed feasibility study (management plan) tailored to the site, funded through PA2 Feasibility Study item.
Use grazing livestock, preferably traditional breed cattle in wood pasture or traditional bread cattle and deer in parkland, to maintain the site. Avoid compaction around veteran trees.
Continuity of veteran tree/dead wood habitat is a major concern on wood pasture. If sufficient semi-mature trees are present consider the creation of dead wood habitat on trees capital item and encourage new trees through natural regeneration if possible or with planting.
Planting new trees
- space out newly planted trees (or patches of natural regeneration) so they are wide enough to grow an open crown
- pick trees that are suitable as eventual replacements for mature or veteran trees
- select tree species appropriate to the historic parkland design but consider varieties/provenances that are resilient to local climate change
- on wood pasture/site with veteran trees maintaining the genetic stock of the veteran trees on site is important. Choose varieties that provide the same ecological wood decay conditions as mature or veteran trees already on the site
Consents and permissions
Be aware that a number of consents and permissions may apply:
- the Tree Preservation Orders (TPO’s) and Conservation Orders may apply to the trees on site
- old trees especially can host European Protected Species, such as bats
Read more about useful tree management and safety information and felling licences requirements from the Forestry Commission (FC).
Read the following guidance booklets for more detail on managing ancient or veteran trees:
- Ancient tree guides (booklets 1 to 8)
- Lonsdale, D (ed) 2014, Ancient and other veteran trees: further guidance on management, Tree Council
- Read, H (ed) 2000 Veteran trees: A guide to good management Veteran Trees Initiative
See the Higher Tier manual to find out more about the scheme and how to apply.
Published: 2 April 2015
Updated: 10 March 2017
- Updated for 2017 applications.
- Updated information for applications in 2016.
- Update to keeping records section.
- First published.