HS2: Take historic and archaeological features out of cultivation

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the take historic and archaeological features out of cultivation option.

How much will be paid

£425 per hectare (ha).

If used as Ecological Focus Area (EFA): £91 per ha.

Where to use this option

Available for Mid Tier and Higher Tier

Whole or part parcel

  • in Mid Tier this option can only be used on Scheduled Monuments on arable land or temporary grassland
  • in Mid Tier this option can only be used with the written approval of Historic England as confirmed on your Historic Environment FER (HEFER) consultation response
  • in Higher Tier this option can be used on Scheduled Monuments where approved by Historic England and on historic or archaeological features identified in your HEFER

Where this option cannot be used

  • from 1 January 2019, on land already receiving funding for Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) declared for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS)

How this option will benefit the environment

It protects historic and archaeological features from damaging cultivation practices.

Depending on land use and location it may also:

  • reduce diffuse pollution
  • reduce soil erosion

Protecting historic 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.


  • use shallow cultivation on arable land to establish a grass or flower mixture
  • re-seed temporary grassland by slot seeding, making sure not to damage the existing sward
  • maintain a continuous grass sward over the feature
  • make sure vehicle or stock access routes are at least 6m away from the feature (existing surfaced tracks can be used)
  • agree with Natural England in writing all drainage works, including modification to existing drainage, before any works take place

Do not:

  • plough on earthwork sites when establishing grass or flower mixtures
  • harrow or roll
  • supplementary feed within 6m of the option area
  • allow scrub or bracken growth on the option area

Keeping records

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

  • 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.

Applicants will need to submit the following with the application:

  • a land drainage map
  • a map of existing tracks
  • written approval for the option from Historic England

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.

Pick the right location

Choose a boundary that includes all of the features and provides a practical field division.

Further information

The following guides from Historic England may also be useful:

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 17 May 2018 + show all updates
  1. From 1 January 2019, this option cannot be used on land already receiving funding for Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) declared for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).
  2. Updated for 2017 applications.
  3. Information updated for applications in 2016.
  4. First published.