Farming in Protected Landscapes

The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme gives grants for projects in England’s special and unique Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks.

It supports projects that:

  • recover nature
  • tackle climate change
  • provide opportunities for people to discover the landscape
  • support sustainable farm businesses.

Looking for inspiration? Download a summary of the projects we’ve supported so far or check out our example projects further down the page.

If you are interested in applying for a grant, please read through the guidance on this page and submit an enquiry using our short online form. A member of the High Weald AONB Team will be in touch as soon as they can for an informal chat.

More than £1million

funding allocated to farmers and landowners in the High Weald AONB so far!

Programme summary

  • The Scheme is funded by Defra and will run until March 2025.
  • It is being operated locally by individual protected landscape teams.
  • In the High Weald we have £1.1million to spend in 2023/24.
  • You need to be a farmer or land manager in the High Weald AONB to apply for a grant, or you need to be an organisation or individual collaborating with a farmer, or group of land managers.
  • There is no minimum grant request. The maximum you can ask for is £250,000.
  • For projects with a commercial benefit support will be between 40% and 80%, depending on the level of benefit.
  • Involvement in the programme will not prevent you entering into future Defra schemes.
  • You can send us a grant application at any time.

To get started, read our guidance and then submit an enquiry via our short online form. A member of the team will be in touch for an informal chat.

There are six steps to applying for a grant:

What are we looking for?

We are looking for one-off projects that meet one or more national goals for climate, nature, people, and place; and local goals for the High Weald. You can find the local goals in the High Weald AONB Management Plan (pages 24-55).

Click to expand the sections below for project ideas and inspiration.

More carbon is stored and/or sequestered

Flood risk is reduced

The landscape is more resilient to climate change.

Examples of projects that might meet this goal in the High Weald:

  • Installing infrastructure for regenerative agriculture systems, for example mobile planned grazing
  • Installing leaky woody debris dams to slow water flow
  • Installing rainwater harvesting equipment
  • Purchasing equipment that helps manage wildlife hedges on rotation.


There is a greater area of habitat for wildlife

There is greater connectivity between habitats

Existing habitat is better managed.

Examples of projects that might meet this goal in the High Weald:

  • Hedge-planting to reinstate lost boundaries
  • Use of no-fence technology to improve grazing of wildlife habitats
  • Sourcing small-scale management equipment to prevent soil compaction and damage to fields and woods
  • Equipment that assists with deer management;
  • Equipment that helps with wildflower grassland management, for example cut and collect mowers
  • Restorative cuts of overstood coppice
  • Rhododendron removal
  • Planting disease resistant elms for the White-letter Hairstreak butterfly
  • Training in habitat management.


There are more opportunities for more people, and a wider range of people, to explore, enjoy and understand the High Weald.

There is more public involvement in land management.

Farmers and land managers are more able to provide visitor infrastructure and manage visitors.

Examples of projects that might meet this goal in the High Weald:

  • Improvements to rights of way to make access easier, for example surfacing works and replacing stiles with gates
  • Permissive paths that take people away from sensitive areas or farm operations;
  • New car parking areas;
  • Waymarking beyond standard requirements
  • Information and interpretation materials that educate and guide visitors
  • Visitor activities that generate an income for the farm business e.g. cycle hire.


The quality and character of the landscape is reinforced or enhanced.

Historic features are conserved, enhanced, or interpreted more effectively.

There is an increase in farm business resilience.

Examples of projects that might meet this goal in the High Weald:

  • Producing business plans with environmental goals
  • Developing new uses and markets for farm and wood products e.g. wool and wild venison
  • Agroforestry;
  • Growing native tree stock;
  • Regenerative horticulture;
  • Projects that sustain small-scale traditional industries such as hedge-laying and coppicing
  • Woodland archaeology surveys that identify where features that need protection are located
  • Wildlife surveys to inform environmental management
  • Using traditional materials to maintain local character.


Developing your project

We need to be confident as possible that you will achieve the programme goals with your project. It is therefore important that your project is well considered before you apply for a grant. We recommend seeking advice from us and others with experience of similar projects. We can suggest people to talk to.

You will need to demonstrate that:

  • Your project is good value. You can show this by supplying three quotes and/or comparing your costs to published rates e.g. countryside stewardship payment rates.
  • You will undertake the work to a high standard. You can show this by providing lots of detail on how you will do the work or by providing a locally or nationally recognised specification that you will use.
  • You will be able to maintain the work for long term benefit. A management plan or business plan is the best way of showing how you will do this

We understand that you may incur costs developing your project. We are therefore offering small grants for the costs of habitat and archaeological surveys; securing any permissions, licences and consents (but not the application fees); and producing management plans.

We are unable to fund the costs of completing the application form. We recommend that you do this yourself. However, you may wish to provide supporting information produced by other people.

We are here to help you develop your project and secure support from the Scheme.

Good luck!

Defra’s guidance – programme detail

Visit the Government’s Farming in Protected Landscapes web page for more detail on the programme, including information on the scoring system.

We recommend you also read the document  Defra guidance for applicants (373 KB) .

We will send you a fillable application form if we think your project may be suitable. You can download a read-only version of the form here:  High Weald FiPL Application Form (June 2022)