High Weald

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.

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It supports projects that:

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


High Weald Farmer Events: We are running a series of free events for farmers and land managers in and around the High Weald, providing inspiration and guidance for projects that could be funded by the Farming in Protected Landscapes grant programme. If you're considering making an application but need ideas or simply want to know more about the programme, take a look at our upcoming events and book your place.

NAAONB webinar recording: The National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NAAONB) hosted an online introduction to the programme for farmers and land managers across England, with presentations from the Defra team and advice from real-life farmers on how the funding can be used to build a stronger business. You can view the recording here.

Programme summary

• The Scheme is funded by Defra and will run for 3 years, ending in March 2024.
• It is being operated locally by individual protected landscape teams.
• In the High Weald we have £783,000 to spend in year 1 (by 31 March 2022).
• 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.
• We can fund up to 100% for projects with no commercial benefit. 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.

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

Looking for inspiration? Download a summary of the grants awarded so far:  pdf Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme: High Weald AONB Partnership Grant Awards - December 2022 (91 KB) .

There are 6 steps to applying for a grant:

Step 1: Read Our Guidance and the Defra Guidance. We will discuss this with you, but it helps if you have read it first. Step 2: Submit an enquiry. We will call you back within a week for an initial conversation. We may suggest your project suits another grant scheme better. Step 3: Site visit. We find visiting your site is usually helpful, especially if you want to talk through ideas. Step 4: We send you an application form if your project is a good fit for the scheme. Step 5: Submit the application form. We will check that you have submitted everything needed and may ask for further information. Step 6: Decision. We will give you a decision. For grant requests less than £5,000 this will be within two weeks. For grant requests over £5,000 this will be within two months. Requests over £5,000 will be considered by a Local Assessment Panel.

Our Guidance - What we are 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).

pdf View the High Weald AONB Management Plan (14.01 MB)

Climate goals
• 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.

Nature goals
• 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.

People goals
• 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.

Place goals
• 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.

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

Submit an enquiry

Our Guidance - 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; 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. 

Submit an enquiry

Defra's Guidance - Programme details

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_December 2022 (310 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:  pdf High Weald FiPL Application Form (June 2022) (280 KB)

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

Submit an enquiry


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