Environmental Stewardship Scheme Guidance Notes (PB10494)

Environmental Stewardship Guidance 015:

Historic Environment Features in Grassland

This guidance has been developed specifically to support Environmental Stewardship agreements. It does not replace your Agreement and you must continue to follow the prescriptions and specifications. The outcomes shown may not be appropriate or suitable for all sites. Please consult scheme handbooks or your RDS adviser for further information.

Historic environment features come in a variety of forms, from large areas of historic landscape such as the extensive areas of ridge and furrow in the Midlands, to upstanding monuments such as hill forts and barrows, to below ground features containing much important and unique information. The historic environment is indispensable, allowing us to understand the cultural landscape in which we live, work and play, and giving a ‘sense of place’ and local distinctiveness to our landscapes.


  • A short dense grass sward with no bare earth, burrows, trees or scrub, nor any other disturbance to the soil.

Do not...

  • Plough old pasture.
  • Sub soil, pan bust or mole plough.
  • Stone pick or clean.
  • Place new fences across the site.
  • Cause rutting, soil compaction or other soil disturbance
  • Plant trees or allow scrub to develop.
  • Place feeders on features or allow patches of bare earth or poaching.
  • Allow any form of ground disturbance or soil removal/erosion.
  • Allow animals to dig burrows or any other holes.
  • Alter drainage or install new drains.
  • Remove historic boundaries.

The historic environment is irreplaceable – once lost it can never be regained.


  • Make sure all workers and contractors are aware of the historic environment features on your farm.
  • Ensure tracks and access points avoid features. Where appropriate, move fences, tracks and gateways to avoid features.
  • Minimise soil erosion.

Rural Development Service. RDS is part of the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
Environmental Stewardship: Farm Environment Plan Guidance 015
First Edition, Published March 2005

PB 10494C. Produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Illustrations by Jackie Hunt and Dan Powell.
© Crown copyright 2005. Reproduced for ADLib under licence.

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