England Coast Path in the north west of England

WD7: Management of successional areas and scrub

How much will be paid

£74 per hectare (ha).

Where to use this option

It is available for Mid Tier and Higher Tier on whole or part parcels.

  • where scrub cover makes up at least 10% of the area

Where this option cannot be used

This option cannot be used:

  • where there are historic or archaeological features
  • on existing open habitats (where scrub can be included in a relevant option)
  • where scrub would be out of character for the area

How this option will benefit the environment

It provides enhanced habitat for a wide range of wildlife and improves the quality of the woodland edge. It also helps prevent soil erosion and holds back water to reduce downstream flood risks.

If successful there will be:

  • more scrub growing close to grassland, woodland and other habitats
  • birds and invertebrates using the scrub
  • less soil erosion in scrub areas
  • reduced flooding in scrub areas


You must:

  • keep livestock out of the option area from 1 October to 30 April
  • only cut to maintain the scrub and grass mosaic and to control the spread of injurious weeds and invasive non-native species
  • protect growing trees from livestock and wild animals
  • make sure tree guards do not damage growing trees
  • keep all mature and veteran trees and all standing deadwood, if safe to do so
  • keep all fallen deadwood uncut and in place, stacked in piles
  • agree all drainage works (including modifying existing drainage) with Natural England in writing before any works take place

Do not:

  • cut more than one-third of shrub growth in any one calendar year
  • cut during the bird breeding season (1 March to 31 August)
  • apply fertilisers or manures
  • plough, cultivate or re-seed
  • harrow or roll
  • supplementary feed
  • use pesticides, except for herbicides to weed wipe or spot treat injurious weeds, invasive non-native species, nettles or bracken

Keeping records

Applicants will have to send the following with their application:

  • evidence of extent of scrub cover – you can mark this on any map including the Farm Environment Record (FER)

On your annual claim you must 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:

  • field operations at the parcel level, including associated invoices
  • a monthly record of the number of grazing livestock in each parcel
  • a standard soil analysis carried out in the last 5 years, including analysis of organic matter by loss on ignition. The rules for farmers and land managers to prevent water pollution already require farmers and land managers to carry out soil testing on cultivated agricultural land – you can use these test results to meet the record-keeping requirements for this option
  • any consents or permissions connected with this work
  • photographs the management undertaken

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

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this option

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

Pick the right location

This option works best where:

  • there is some open ground among the scrub for grasses and non-woody plants to grow
  • scrub is next to other habitats such as grassland or heath
  • scrub is established by woodland edges
  • scrub can hold soils together and slow down surface runoff

Remove livestock

Remove grazing livestock to allow scrub plants to establish. Once established, stop scrub from becoming too dense by cutting on rotation, or grazing.

Establish a variety of scrub

Establish a variety of scrub to provide habitats and food for target species. For example:

  • gorse scrub can support birds like the Dartford warbler, stonechat, linnet and yellowhammer
  • willow scrub in wetlands can support warblers, reed bunting and willow tits
  • buds and berries and caterpillars on scrub are essential food sources for birds

Dead and fallen trees

Leave any trees that die or fall in position, except where it is necessary to remove them for health and safety reasons.

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 13 February 2020
+ show all updates

  1. Page refreshed and updated.

  2. Updated for 2017 applications.

  3. Information updated for applications in 2016.

  4. First published.

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