On the 15th of January 2018 Natural England launched its new simplified Countryside Stewardship Scheme. The new process is designed to make the scheme more accessible and easier to apply to each individual farming system.

They have split the scheme into four categories:

  • Lowland Grazing
  • Uplands
  • Mixed Farming
  • Arable


The scheme is non-competitive, meaning every valid application will be accepted. As well as this, each of the four categories has 7-14 options to choose from, and some categories of agreement need only three options to be chosen, making it easier to tailor which options suit your farming system best. There is no maximum amount of options that can be entered , however there is a minimum amount of land that should be entered into the scheme, which depending on the options ranges from 1%-2% of farmland.

Agreements will be for 5 years with a 1st January 2019 start date and options generally focus on habitats and food for farmland birds and insect pollinators.

CASE STUDY – Mixed Farming

Below is an example of a 100ha mixed farm, demonstrating how the new options can be used.

Number Category Name Payment Rate Ha Total
AB1 1 Nectar Flower Mix £511 1 £511
AB9 2 Winter Bird Food £640 2 £1,280
AB6 3 Enhanced over winter stubble £436 4 £1,744
GS2 3 Permanent grassland with very low inputs (outside SDAs) £95 2 £190
SW1 3 4m-6m buffer strips on cultivated land £353 3 £1,059
12 Ha £4,784


The three compulsory options, one from each category have been selected, along with two additional options which suit the practices and character of the land.

The deadline for requesting application packs is the 31st May 2018 with a submission deadline of 31st July 2018, with new schemes commencing on 1st January 2019. If you would like any further advice on how to apply the new Countryside Stewardship options to your land then please call Aislyn Firth or Alyssia Thomas on 01684 853407.