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Species-Rich Grasslands

Why are we funding this outcome?

Species-rich grasslands are usually unimproved grasslands that have not been ploughed, fertilised or re-sown in recent years. They provide a habitat for a great variety of small herbs and grasses that cannot thrive in improved swards, as well as for invertebrates, birds and small mammals. Species-rich grasslands have declined dramatically since the second world war and now survive as small and isolated remnants of a habitat that was once widespread.

Our financial support will help you to graze or cut your unimproved grasslands in a way that maintains their diversity of species.

What will this package achieve?

This package will maintain a grassland habitat for many species that have adapted to live in grasslands. The grassland will be cut or grazed in such a way that plants can flower and set seed in the Summer and new seedlings can germinate in the Spring and Autumn. It will include a range of sward structures from short, open turf to tall grass and tussocks. Scrub and bracken will be prevented from invading and replacing the grassland but limited areas of scrub will be retained to provide additional shelter, food and hibernation sites for invertebrates, birds and small mammals.

We will support land managers to:

  • graze lightly to maintain the sward within a given height range
  • erect fencing where this will help to manage grazing of the grassland
  • install a water supply where this will help to enable a grassland to be grazed
  • cut and remove cuttings twice a year if grazing is impossible
  • control the spread of scrub and bracken.

What can you do?

You should choose which of the following Options will help deliver the outcome you have selected.

We suggest the following Options may all be appropriate.

Some Options- shown in the top list - will always deliver the desired outcomes. If you choose any of these Options, you will not be expected to provide any justification for choosing that Option.

Other Options - those in the bottom list - will only help achieve the desired outcome in specific circumstances. If you choose any of these, the application system will ask you to explain how you see this Option helping to achieve the outcome. You can select as many, or as few, Options as you think you will need. You must judge which Options will most effectively deliver the desired outcomes taking account of your circumstances.

This Option will always deliver the desired outcome:

These Options will help to achieve the desired outcome in specific circumstances:

Corn Bunting and Corncrake packages

Separate packages of Options are available for Corn Buntings, Corncrakes and Chough. They include Options that will enable you to manage your grassland in ways that will help corn buntings, corncrakes, ground nesting birds and other wildlife to breed and raise their young. The relevant Options are:

Other Options

There are other Options available under the SRDP that may help you to manage your grassland. The Land Managers' Options scheme includes Options that can complement and support your proposals under the Rural Priorities scheme. For example, summer cattle grazing encourages land managers to put cattle out to the hill, where they graze course grasses that sheep tend to avoid.

Crofters might find that the Crofting Counties Agricultural Grant Scheme (CCAGS), administered by the Crofters Commission, can provide useful support.

Link to more detailed information and additional advice