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October Environmental Stewardship Diary & Woodland



Hedge and ditch bank cutting continues as does ditch cleaning.
Buffer strips and field corners
can also be cut provided they are not cut more often than the prescribed amount.

Nectar flower mixes (EF4) – must be cut to a height of 10cm before 31st October and cuttings should be removed or shredded.

Field Corner Management (EF1) – unless you included some wild flowers in your field corners you are not meant to cut these down more than twice in the 5-year period (apart to control woody growth). Leaving some areas of long, tussocky grass over–winter creates a much better winter habitat than cutting it all down.


Flower-rich margins and plots (AB8) – you have until 15th October to get these established (if you haven’t done so already). If already established, then you must cut (and remove the cuttings) or graze 90% of the area to 10-20cm by 31st October. 10% should be left uncut or ungrazed.
Brassica fodder crop (AB13)
– can be grazed from 15th October.

Countryside Stewardship Applications for 2020

Matt and Sarah are already getting booked-up with mid- and higher tier applications for next year (agreements that will start on 1st Jan 2020). If you are considering making an application next year then please contact the office this autumn as we can start some of the preparatory work that underpins your application.

Supplementary Feeding (F23/HF24 and AB12) – if you have this option in your agreement then now is the time to get your orders in! We have three standard mixes suitable for Stewardship but we can also make up bespoke mixes if you want something a bit different. The standard mixes are a budget mix containing wheat, oilseed rape, white and red millet; a no cereal mix containing oilseed rape, red and white millet and red dari (the idea being you add your own wheat from the barn); and a premium mix containing sunflower hearts, canary seed, red and white millet and red dari.


Ponds – if you have an old pond that you would like to restore or have an idea to create a new pond or scrape then Sarah can help you with the design and a schedule of works.


Hedging and trees – if you are looking to plant a hedge or a new wood this winter please give us a call. We source all of our plants from an excellent, family-run Nursery in Yorkshire and the quality of the plants is exceptional.




You can now sign up to the Woodland Grant Creation Scheme (WGCS) all-year round. The WGCS is a capital grant scheme that falls under the umbrella of Countryside Stewardship and provides payments of up to £6,800/ha to establish new woodland. For further information please contact Ross Guyton at the Oakbank office on 01480 890686 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Final migration of Forestry Commission content to GOV.UK has happened. On Wednesday 26 September 2018, the FC completed the transfer of content from their old website to www.GOV.UK/forestrycommission. Use their homepage to access links to our most important and frequently used guidance, or use the search facility on GOV.UK or Google to search for other items.


The Forestry Commission published at the end of September a new publication which provides practical advice to anybody responsible for the management of ash in woodlands.  Ash dieback operations.  The ash population in the UK is under serious threat from Chalara ash dieback and this guidance provides advise on managing woodlands with the disease, the movement of infected material, management where timber production is a primary objective and how efforts should be concentrated on amending woodland management plans to describe how this species will be managed and how alternative tree species might be used to restock where required. A short YouTube video has also been produced announcing the publication - You tube video  Further guidance will soon be published on management of non-woodland ash particularly those adjacent to roads and rights of ways.   


A recent Government-commissioned report lays out first UK strategy for sequestrating greenhouse gases from our atmosphere in bid to avert climate change - A recent Independent article states that as the nation strives to cut its greenhouse gas pollution by turning its back on fossil fuels, experts have warned this will not be enough to meet the UK’s strict climate targets and that a forest the size of Yorkshire must be planted to make a real difference. Climate Change


2018’s  long hot summer means that autumn has arrived early and could be shorter than normal says the Forestry Commission.  The FC have reported leaves turning a rainbow of colours despite it being early October. The onset of autumn is controlled by temperature and day length and, with the days getting colder and shorter, it seems like autumn has arrived all too early.