HS4: Scrub control on historic and archaeological features

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the scrub control on historic and archaeological features option.

How much will be paid

£137 per hectare (ha).

Where to use this option

Available for Mid Tier and Higher Tier

Whole or part parcel

Only on historic and archaeological features with more than 5% scrub cover.

How this option will benefit the environment

It reduces the risk of root damage to historic and archaeological features by permanently removing the majority of scrub.

Protecting historical and archaeological features will conserve the character of the farm and protect England’s heritage for future generations. This option may also maintain and conserve landscape character.

If successful there will be:

  • visible historic or archaeological features with less scrub
  • very little bare soil with no burrowing animals
  • a well-managed grass sward

Depending on the site’s location, this option may also help to:

  • reduce diffuse pollution
  • reduce soil erosion


  • remove 25% of scrub on the feature every year for the first 3 years (total 75%), clearing only between 1 October and 28 February
  • remove cuttings and brash
  • prevent and control scrub re-growth
  • maintain a continuous grass sward or vegetation cover over the features so that no more than 5% have bare patches and erosion
  • make sure vehicle or stock access routes are at least 6m away from the feature (existing surfaced tracks can be used)
  • ensure all necessary consents are in place to remove any mature trees

Do not:

  • grub out stumps and roots
  • plough, cultivate or re-seed
  • harrow or roll
  • supplementary feed on or within 6m of the historic or archaeological feature

Keeping records

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

  • consents or permissions connected with this work
  • field operations at the parcel level, including associated invoices

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 the management undertaken

All applicants will need to send the following with their application:

  • photographs of the historic and archaeological features and the extent of scrub
  • a map of existing tracks

These 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.

Ways to remove scrub

Scrub can be removed by:

  • mowing
  • flailing
  • using a chainsaw or strimmer
  • clearing by hand

Scrub should be cut down to ground level without disturbing the roots. Make sure all cut material is removed from the site.

Control scrub regrowth

Scrub regrowth can be controlled using:

  • livestock grazing
  • machinery
  • chemicals to treat roots

Further information

See the Mid Tier manual or 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.