Water grants 2015: hedgerow gapping up (BN7)

Eligibility and requirements for hedgerow gapping up.

This guidance was withdrawn on

Capital items for improving water quality are now available through the Mid Tier of Countryside Stewardship.

Farmers and other land managers can apply for water grants.

Read the accompanying guidance to find out more about Countryside Stewardship water grants 2015.

How much will be paid

£9.50 per metre (m).

Where the item is available

This item can be only used to fill a gap left in hedgerow by moving a gate and only in conjunction with the gateway relocation capital item (RP2).

How this item will benefit the environment

This item restores a hedgerow by filling the gap left after moving a gate to create a continuous length of hedge.


Applicants must send dated photographs of the existing hedges with their application for this item.

On the land

Successful applicants will need to carry out work during 30 September to 31 December when the hedge is still dormant. Do this before making a claim.

Plant the hedge

Successful applicants will need to:

  • prepare the ground along a 1.5m wide strip to provide good soil conditions and as little competition from other vegetation as possible;
  • only apply herbicide to the 1.5m strip in the August or September prior to planting;
  • make sure no 1 species makes up more than 70% of the total and plants must be:

    • 2-year-old transplants
    • at least 450mm to 600mm high
    • a native species
    • planted in a staggered double row 40cm apart with a minimum of 6 plants per metre; and
  • keep plants clear of weeds until they’re established.

Manage and protect the hedge

Prevent livestock and grazing animals from damaging the hedge. Set fencing at least 1.2m from the centre of the hedge or if there’s a bank, as close to the base of the bank as possible.

Successful applicants will also need to:

  • remove individual guards and tree shelters once the plants are established; and
  • replace all failures in the following planting season.

Keeping records

Successful applicants will also need to keep records of:

  • hedge plant receipted invoices detailing the age, height and species;
  • related bank statements, and produce them upon request;
  • the date, location and method of any weed control you use;
  • planting dates; and
  • dated photographs of the completed work to show it meets the specification (send these with any claim and show them on request).

What must not be done

Successful applicants must not obstruct or block access to open access land (also known as countryside and rights of way (CRoW) land).

How to carry out this item

The following section gives advice on carrying out this item successfully.

When to plant

November is the best time to plant bare rooted nursery stock, but successful applicants should not plant in freezing weather or waterlogged ground.


Successful applicants should:

  • prepare the ground so the soil becomes friable (has a crumbly texture), is well tilled and free of other growth;
  • plant native species that already grow in hedgerows in the local area;
  • take care of roots before planting by keeping them covered at all times, especially when it’s sunny or windy; and
  • avoid opening more than 1 bag at a time when planting a mixed species.

Control weeds

Competitive weeds (including brambles, nettles and grasses) are likely to need to be controlled for at least 2 years. These weeds slow growth rates and kill young plants by competing for soil moisture, nutrients and light. Avoid using strimmers to cut as these can seriously damage the plants.

Protect the plants

Protect the plants by only using:

  • fencing if sheep, cattle or horses will graze the land - it should be far enough away to allow the hedgerow to grow to a width of at least 1.5m; and
  • rabbit netting, either on its own or in conjunction with stock fencing, if there is a known problem with rabbits or hares.

Avoid using spiral guards. They limit the amount of dense growth at the base of each plant, are difficult to remove and are unsightly.

This item can be used on the same hedge as the following items and supplements:

Further information

This guide gives further information on hedgerow planting:

Published 2 March 2015