Responsible hedge management is not always cheap, but grant aid for hedge laying and hedge planting is available in Somerset.

Exmoor National Park Authority

The Exmoor Landscape Conservation Grants

Visit for full details, guidance notes and the short application form.

The aim of this 3 year grant scheme is to support a range of projects and traditional management works that benefit the landscape, wildlife and cultural heritage of Exmoor National Park.
Funding is in the form of small grants, typically up to 50%. You may submit applications for different projects, but the maximum grant per holding is £2500 per year. The grant can support projects such as hedge bank management, scrub and bracken control, orchard management, pond restoration and care of historic features or other landscape conservation work.

If you need any further information, have any queries or need some help with a project idea, please contact Heather Harley, Conservation Advisor (Farming) on 01398 322277 or email

Environmental Stewardship (ES)

In 2005, the new agri-environment scheme Environmental Stewardship was introduced, comprising the Entry Level Scheme (ELS) and the Higher Level Scheme (HLS). Details of the schemes are available online at:

Environmental Stewardship is an agri-environment scheme which provides funding to farmers and other land managers in England who deliver effective environmental management on their land. The scheme is intended to build on the recognised success of the Environmental Sensitive Areas scheme and the countryside Stewardship Scheme. Its primary objectives are to:

Conserve wildlife (biodiversity)
Maintain and enhance landscape quality and character
Protect the historic environment and natural resources
Promote public access and understanding of the countryside
Natural resource protection

Within the primary objectives it also has the secondary objectives of:

Genetic conservation
Flood management

Environmental stewardship has three elements:

Entry Level Stewardship (ELS)
- Open to all farmers and landowners.
- Simple and effective land management.
Organic Entry Level Stewardship (OELS)
- Organic strand of ELS.
- Open to all farmers not receiving Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) aid.
Higher Level Stewardship (HLS)
- Targeted environmental management.
- Capital work plans.

ELS and OELS go beyond what will be required under the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) cross compliance conditions. Entering into an Environmental Stewardship agreement will not remove any cross compliance obligations.

Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS)

CSS is now closed and has been superceeded by the Higher Level scheme under Environmental Stewardship starting in March 2005. See the DEFRA website for more details.
For further information Tel. 0117 959 1000

Environmentally Sensitive Area Scheme (ESA)

ESA schemes are now closed and will be superceeded by the Higher Level scheme under Environmental Stewardship starting in 2005. See the DEFRA website for more details. 

For further information Tel. 0117 959 1000

Natural England

As well as the administration of Environmental Stewardship, grants may be available from Natural England for:- 

New projects enabling the safeguarding, management and enhancement of sites and species of nature conservation importance and their enjoyment by the public;
Projects enabling local communities to participate more fully in conservation activities;
Proposals designed to encourage the development of management for wildlife within natural areas of the countryside;
Innovative projects demonstrating new initiatives which are likely to have a wider relevance and further the practice of nature conservation;
Imaginative proposals which implement the concept of integrating nature conservation with other interests and potentially competing activities.

Grants for wildlife projects must contribute to Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs).