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

In Mid Tier this option can only be used with approval from Natural England.

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.

For Mid Tier the land must be mapped on the Priority Habitat Inventory as wood pasture and parkland, see MAGIC.

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

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


  • 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
  • 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

In Mid Tier, additional clauses may be included to refine the standard requirements. These will be discussed and agreed as part of the approval process.

Do not:

  • 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 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

Keeping records

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
  • 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 will 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

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 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

Try to:

  • 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).

Further information

Read the following guidance booklets for more detail on managing 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.