WD3: Woodland edges on arable land

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the woodland edges on arable land option.

How much will be paid

£323 per hectare (ha)

Where to use this option

Available for Mid Tier and Higher Tier

Only on arable land immediately adjacent to predominantly native or ancient semi-natural woodlands.

Where this option cannot be used

  • on historic or archaeological features
  • 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

If successful a scrub and grass mosaic will develop through natural regeneration between the arable land and existing woodland. New woodland edge habitat will result in an increase in birds, invertebrates, small mammals and other wildlife.


  • allow the woodland edge to grow out for up to 6m
  • only cut to maintain the scrub and grass mosaic and for the control of injurious weeds and invasive non-native species
  • cut no more than a third of the shrubby growth in any one calendar year

Do not:

  • use pesticides, except for herbicides to spot-treat or weed-wipe for the control of injurious weeds, invasive non-natives, nettles and bracken
  • apply any fertilisers or manures
  • supplementary feed
  • cultivate within 6m of the woodland edge
  • cut during the bird breeding season (1 March to 31 August)

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
  • stock records to show grazing activity on parcels

On your annual claim you will be asked to declare that you haven’t carried out any activities prohibited by the option requirements.

Agreement holders 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

The following options 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.

The woodland edge should be encouraged to grow 6m out into the field, forming a scrub and grass mosaic. This mosaic should not be allowed to develop into secondary woodland, but should be maintained through controlled grazing and/or cutting.

The option should be placed adjacent to predominantly native woodland, in particular ancient woodland, which may be under active or passive management. It may be used to enhance woodland within the holding, as well as woodland that immediately borders but is not part of the farm.

The option is also eligible where a ditch runs between the woodland and the arable field. It may not be practical, however, if the ditch requires ongoing management or maintenance. Special care is needed to ensure that historic features such as woodbanks are undamaged.

The woodland adjacent to this option may receive funding under woodland options, but there must be no overlap. Buffer strip options may also be located adjacent to this option.

Be aware that the woodlands against which this option is placed may be home to European Protected Species, which could migrate into the scrub and grass land mosaic created. Young scrub, for example, is ideal habitat for dormice.

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 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 application in 2016.

  4. First published.