Countryside Stewardship
Countryside Stewardship

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Countryside Stewardship
  • Overview
  • Countryside Stewardship elements
  • Higher Tier agreements
  • Mid Tier agreements
  • Wildlife Offers
  • Capital grants
  • Other resources
  • Payment rates
  • Brexit


Countryside Stewardship is an environmental land management scheme, which is part of the 2014 to 2020 Rural Development Programme for England. It is open to farmers, land managers, land owners and tenants (full details as to eligibility are available on GOV.UK). Countryside Stewardship is administered by the Rural Payments Agency, with technical advice from Natural England and the Forestry Commission.

The main priority of Countryside Stewardship is biodiversity, but it also seeks to encourage improvements across a number of areas, eg water quality, flood management, habitat restoration and woodland management.

Countryside Stewardship is a single scheme, which in 2015 replaced Environmental Stewardship (ES), the English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) and capital grants from the Catchment Sensitive Farming programme. Existing ES and EWGS agreements that ran into 2015 or beyond will continue until they expire.

Countryside Stewardship elements

There are four main elements to Countryside Stewardship:

  1. Higher Tier (which is site-specific)

  2. Mid Tier (which is area-specific)

  3. Wildlife Offers

all of which will involve multi-year agreements, and

  1. Capital grants which may be applied for as part of, or independently from, any of the other Countryside Stewardship elements

Each element gives access to funding or capital grants for an agreed range of over 100 environmental management actions (referred to as