Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) Handbook 2013 (NE349)
UX3 Moorland requirements 15 points per ha

This requirement must be located on all SDA parcels above the Moorland Line. It can only be used on whole-fields.

  • Avoid overgrazing and undergrazing and, in any case, maintain a minimum stocking rate of 0.05 livestock units (LUs) per hectare for a period of 4 months between 1 June and 30 September. Grazing livestock can include cattle, sheep and ponies but all stock must be acclimatised to the conditions of the moor. Sheep must consist of hardy native breeds and/or their crosses.

    The minimum level of grazing as specified above equates with 0.5 ewe/ha plus lambs at foot based on LU conversion factors shown in Appendix 4. The list of recognised hardy native breeds of sheep is shown in Appendix 5.

    The minimum level of grazing must be maintained throughout the period 1 June to 30 September except when stock are removed for routine husbandry operations such as lambing, calving, dipping and clipping.

    Where the moorland consists of a number of parcels, not necessarily grazed at the same time, calculate the number of LUs based on the number of animals that will graze all of the parcels.

    The Environmental Information Map for your farm will indicate any areas of deep peat (defined as 50 cm or more) or blanket bog and areas that lie above 600 m. A level of stocking at or above 0.05 LU per hectare on this ground could be damaging. Therefore, moorland grazing units that are dominated (more than 75 per cent by area) by blanket bog and/or mountain grazing above 600 m are likely to benefit from more refined grazing management and are a high priority for Higher Level Stewardship – please contact your Natural England adviser in these circumstances.
  • Maintain wetlands including peat bogs, other mires and hillside flushes. Where you have the legal right to control land drainage, do not install any new land drainage or modify any existing drainage that would increase run-off. The maintenance of existing working field drains is permitted, except on areas of deep peat (> 0.5 m), provided that its capacity is not increased beyond the initial installation.

    Where there are areas of deep peat, do not maintain existing grips/drains except along tracks or boundaries. Allow drain blocking (that might, for example, be undertaken by the landowner). If, as a result, increasingly wet ground conditions develop, additional shepherding may be required to prevent animal welfare concerns.
  • Manage any supplementary feeding sensitively to avoid damaging habitats such as blanket bog, heather, bilberry and other heath, species-rich grassland and mires. Move all feeding sites regularly to minimise damage to vegetation and soils. Do not supplementary feed using silage but the feeding of haylage (as defined in Appendix 6) is permitted, provided that the plastic is removed from the feeding sites. Do not feed on or next to archaeological features, steep slopes, footpaths or watercourses. The practice of supplementary feeding may be restricted under the terms of a statutory designation eg Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It may also be restricted on common land by the landowner or by custom as declared by a Commoners Association/group.
  • Where you have the legal right to carry out burning, and intend to do so, you must follow the Defra Heather and Grass Burning Code. You may obtain a copy of The Heather and Grass Burning Code (Defra, 2007) from your Natural England office or download it from the Natural England website, details in Appendix 2.
  • Do not apply fertilisers or manures.
  • Do not plough, cultivate, re-seed or harrow.
  • Retain and protect native woodland. Do not supplementary feed in native woodland except during periods of extreme weather, where access to forage is severely restricted and the welfare of livestock might otherwise be compromised. Extreme weather is defined as more than two consecutive days of snow cover or continuous hard frost, prolonged drought or prolonged heavy rainfall. Native woodland, for the purpose of this requirement, is defined as a group of trees with overlapping canopies covering at least 0.1 ha (1,000 m2), at least half of which are native species.
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