England Coast Path in the north west of England

WD4: Management of wood pasture and parkland

How much will be paid

£46 per hectare (ha).

Where to use this option

It is available for Mid Tier and Higher Tier 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.

In Mid Tier this option can only be used subject to eligibility checks.

Features that can be included in this option

You can include the following features if they are part of the land, even if they are not eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS):

  • rivers, streams, ditches, drains and dykes or any open water less than 4 metres (m) 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


You must:

  • graze and/or cut to maintain area of closely grazed turf interspersed with taller tussocks
  • keep 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 – you must leave fallen dead wood 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 carrying out any works
  • carry out maintenance works and minor repairs on structural historic or archaeological features on a ‘like for like’ basis to keep 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

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

You must keep the following records and supply them on request:

  • any bank statements, receipted invoices or permissions connected with the work
  • photographs of structural, historic and archaeological features
  • photographs of the management taken
  • a monthly record of the number of grazing livestock in each parcel
  • records of all management activity on the option area for each parcel
  • photographs of the water feature, clearly showing its shape and design and all associated engineering features such as sluices, weirs, dams and other water control structures
  • photographs of the water feature and surrounding buffers, clearly showing the extent of any areas of scrub, bracken or pernicious weeds
  • photographs – before and after shots of all maintenance works and minor repairs that have been carried out

You can locate the following options and supplements on the same area as this option:

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this option

The following advice is helpful, but they are not requirements for this item.

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. This can be an existing plan or can be funded through PA2 Feasibility Study item.

Use grazing livestock, preferably traditional breed cattle in wood pasture or traditional breed cattle and deer in parkland, to maintain the site. Avoid compaction around veteran trees.

Continuity of veteran tree or 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 or provenances that are resilient to local climate change
  • on wood pasture or a site with veteran trees maintain the genetic stock of the veteran trees on site – 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 (TPOs) 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 13 February 2020
+ show all updates

  1. Page refreshed and updated.

  2. Updated keeping records section for evidence required with claim.

  3. Updated for 2017 applications.

  4. Updated information for applications in 2016.

  5. First published.

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