Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) Handbook 2013 (NE349)
UB16 Earth bank restoration 12.5 points per m

This option is only available on land within the SDA.

This option aims to restore banks to maintain them as features in the landscape. It is available for existing earth banks that are substantially intact but have some unstable and/or collapsed sections. You must have management control over both sides of the hedgebank.

You can enter up to 40 m on your application form. This represents the annual commitment. Hence, if you enter 40 m on your application form, you will be required to complete 200 m over the full 5 years of your agreement (or 400 m if you have a 10-year Uplands ELS/HLS agreement).

You can complete the work ahead of schedule, but you must have completed at least as much as the annual commitment for each agreement year completed. Points earned will be based on the annual commitment, not the actual amount of work completed in any single year.

For example, where the annual commitment is 40 m
End of agreement year 1 2 3 4 5
Minimum total length restored 40 80 120 160 200
Maximum total length restored 200 200 200 200 200
Points earned 500 500 500 500 500


Banks in this option may not be entered in options EB12, UB12, EB13 and UB13.

For this option, you must comply with the following:

  • Obtain current, dated photographs of the bank to be restored as evidence of its condition when you joined the scheme, retain these photographs and submit a copy with your application.
  • At the end of the agreement, the restored bank must be complete and in good condition.
  • All repair and maintenance work must be carried out in the traditional materials used in the original earth bank construction, following the style characteristic to the local landscape. The shape and height of the bank must be consistent with other banks that are in good condition in the immediate vicinity.
  • Avoid undermining the original historic bank. Often the lower courses of field boundaries are of considerable age and archaeological importance.
  • Do not carry out restoration work on a bank with a hedge between 1 March and 31 August (the main birdbreeding season).
  • Do not use machinery beneath the canopy of hedgerow trees to avoid soil compaction.
  • Before work starts, all old fencing must be removed and disposed of appropriately.
  • Avoid restoring earth banks in adverse weather conditions such as drought or very wet weather as this will result in instability. Using machinery in wet weather may damage land adjacent to the hedgebank.
  • Use original soil to build up the bank where possible. Do not use earth from an existing boundary or any other archaeological feature.
  • Where a hedge already exists, do not bury a newly laid hedge in deep earth as this will prevent effective regrowth.
  • To ensure stability, the finished face of the bank should slope inwards to create a ‘batter’, such that the base of the bank is wider than the top. Settlement must be allowed at each stage to stabilise the bank.
  • Where the bank is faced with turves, take to the full height of the bank and finish off with loose soil or turf, depending on local traditions and whether or not a hedge is to be planted.
  • Where the earth bank is crossed by a public right of way, any stiles and gates must be restored to their original form using traditional materials.
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