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July Stewardship & Woodland News


As many of you know, we have out-grown our current offices but fortunately, a much larger premises has become available next door so this week (4-5th July) we will be moving lock, stock and barrel into brand new offices. This might cause some disruption in terms of phones and IT so if you struggle to get through to the office please try one of our mobiles: Ian 07843378701 or Matt 07540 184927. Please do drop in to see our new offices – the address hasn’t changed and we would be delighted to see you.


6m buffer strips on cultivated land (EE3 & EE9) – the 3m next to the crop should be cut after 15th July;

12m buffer strips for watercourses on cultivated land (EJ9) - the 6m next to the crop should be cut after 15th July;

Nectar flower mix (EF4) – if you haven’t done so already, cut half the area of nectar flower mix to 20cm by the end of this week (unless ground-nesting birds are present);

Very low input grass (EK3) – you can now (from 1st July) cut, harrow and roll (if you need to);

Management of rush pastures (EK4) – you can now (from 1st July) harrow and roll (NOT CUT)

MID-TIER COUNTRYSIDE STEWARDSHIP – Don’t forget the deadline for applications to be submitted is July 31st.


Nectar flower mix (AB1) – if not already done so, establish mix between 15th July and 30th August;

Nesting plots for lapwings and stone curlew (AB5) – retain cultivated areas until 31st July (after which they can be sprayed off, cultivated and sown with mustard/turnips to provide extra partridge holding cover); Enhanced overwinter stubble

(AB6) – retain stubble and any subsequent regen until 31st July; Flower-rich margins and plots (AB8) – establish mix between 15th July and 15th October;

Brassica Fodder crop (AB13) – establish brassica or fodder root crop before 31st July;

Harvested low input cereal (AB14) – do not harvest before 15th July;

Permanent grassland with very low inputs (GS2) – can be cut for hay or silage from the 1st July, as long as you do not disturb nesting birds; Legume and herb rich sward (GS4) – do not cut or graze between 1st May and 31st July;

4-6m buffer on cultivated land (SW1) – cut between 1-3m of the strip next to the crop edge after 15th July;

In-field grass strip (SW3) – cut the entire area after 15th July;

12-24m buffer (SW4) - the 6m next to the crop should be cut after 15th July.


From 1st July all communication with the RPA will have to be through the generic email address and telephone number: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 03000 200 301

This includes all correspondence with CS advisors and anything to do with a Countryside Stewardship agreement. Any emails addressed to individuals will be bounced back and RPA office numbers will be redirected until 31st July when the lines will then be taken out of service entirely.

Apparently this is progress…………..?

We will ‘watch this space’.

Game Crops

SLUGS – after the heavy rain in early June we saw a lot of slug damage. Please be aware and get slug pellets on at the first sign of damage.

Deadlines: maize, kale and sorghum can be drilled up to mid-July and providing they are sown into moisture they will germinate and grow rapidly. After mid-July you are relying on fast growing brassicas (forage rape, stubble turnips) plus fodder radish, mustard, utopia and buckwheat.

Sam Kennedy – sadly Sam has come to the end of his placement year with us and returns to Harper Adams to complete the final year of his degree. Sam has been a great addition to the Oakbank team this year and we wish him every success for the future.

Woodland and Tree Related News

Managing ash for the future - The latest Government policy on managing ash tree pests and diseases has recently been published – click here for Policy

Best trees to filter air pollution - Silver birch, elder and yew have topped the poll in a recent experiment to see which species best capture diesel pollution particles from traffic. The Scientist explains.

Forest Research release latest National Statistics on woodland – England falls short of Government target - The area of woodland in the UK at 31 March 2019 is estimated to be 3.19 million hectares. This represents 13% of the total land area in the UK, 10% in England, 15% in Wales, 19% in Scotland and 8% in Northern Ireland.  Sadly, tree planting in England fell well short of targets in the past year, despite government promises to restore and plant new woodland across the country to combat the climate change crisis. A mere 1,420 ha were planted in England in the year to 31 March 2019 (against the government’s target of 5,000 ha), with smaller areas in Wales and Northern Ireland, at 500 and 240 ha respectively. Link to Forest Research Woodland Statistics