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Farming in Protected Landscapes

Farmland near Goathland (c) Tammy AndrewsFarmland near Goathland (c) Tammy Andrews

National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are special and unique places. They are living, working landscapes that also support a huge range of habitats and species, and they are enjoyed by millions of people every year.

Here in the North York Moors National Park, farming greatly influences the management of the landscape, supporting important habitats and wildlife, and helping to sustain tourism. Unusually for an upland National Park, all farming sectors are represented, with some 20% of farmland being arable. Many of our distinctive landscape features such as dry stone walls, hedgerows, grasslands and woodlands are dependent on farming practices.

Farmers and landowners want to farm productively and manage the landscape in a way which is good for climate, nature, people and place.

What is ‘Farming in Protected Landscapes’?

It is a three-year Defra funded Programme (July 2021 to March 2024) running in all of the English National Parks and AONBs to help farmers and other land managers adapt to future changes in agricultural support. By supporting farmers, land managers and people who live and work in these areas, we can help protect these exceptional places and support local communities.

Specifically, it will support activity that benefits nature recovery, mitigates the impacts of climate change, provides opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and its cultural heritage, or supports nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses.

This is a programme of funding for one-off projects covering these areas of work, not an agri-environment scheme. Carrying out a project through this Programme will not affect your ability to enter the new environmental land management schemes.

The Guidance for applicants sets out the purpose and operation of the Programme in more detail.

We are delivering the Programme in the North York Moors National Park over the next three years. The Programme is also running in the neighbouring Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (HHAONB) and farmers/land managers located should contact the AONB directly. Applications over £5,000 will be decided by a local assessment panel, which we will run jointly with the HHAONB.

Who can apply

The Programme is open to all farmers and land managers (including individuals, charities and some public bodies) in a National Park or AONB – or where activity on the ground can bring benefit to one or more of those areas.

You must manage all the land included in the application, and have control of all the activities you’d like to do, or you must have written consent from all parties who have this management and control.

Other organisations and individuals can apply, as long as they do this in collaboration with a farmer or land manager, or in support of a farmer or group of farmers.

Common land is eligible for support. You can apply as a landowner with sole rights, or as a group of commoners acting together.

The Programme supports activity on any land within the North York Moors National Park. It can also support activity on other land where projects can demonstrate benefit to the North York Moors, or the National Park Authority’s objectives. Most of the funding will probably be provided to projects within the National Park boundary.

You can see our boundary by visiting the MAGIC mapping website.

  1. Select ‘Designations’
  2. Select ‘Land-Based Designations’
  3. Select ‘Statutory’ (or untick the other categories)
  4. Untick all boxes apart from ‘National Parks (England)’.

Page 3 of the Guidance for applicants has more details on eligibility.

What happens if my holding crosses the boundary of the North York Moors and HHAONB?

If your farm holding crosses the boundary and you are interested in applying to the Programme, please speak to an officer in either of the Protected Landscapes in which your holding lies. They will be best placed to advise which body you should apply to.

What the Programme will pay for

The Programme will pay for projects that, in the opinion of the Local Assessment Panel (see ‘Application assessment’ below), provide value for money and meet at least one of the outcomes listed below. The outcomes are split into four key themes:

  • More carbon is stored and/or sequestered
  • Flood risk is reduced
  • Better understanding among farmers, land managers and the public as to what different habitats and land uses can deliver for carbon storage and reduced carbon emissions
  • The landscape is more resilient to climate change
  • There is a greater area of wildlife rich habitat
  • There is greater connectivity between habitats
  • Existing habitat is better managed for biodiversity
  • There is an increase in biodiversity
  • There are more opportunities for people to explore, enjoy and understand the landscape
  • There are increased opportunities for more diverse audiences to explore, enjoy and understand the landscape
  • There is greater public engagement in land management, for example through volunteering
  • The quality and character of the landscape is reinforced or enhanced
  • Historic structures and features are conserved, enhanced or interpreted more effectively
  • There is an increase in the resilience of nature friendly sustainable farm businesses, which in turn contributes to a more thriving local economy

Your project must also support the priorities of the North York Moors National Park Management Plan. Page 8 of the Guidance for applicants outlines the priorities in the current Management Plan, which are aligned with the themes of this Programme. Read more about the National Park's special qualities, which are referred to in a number of the priorities.

Funding is available for a wide range of measures. For example, the Programme might support:

  • Re-wiggling a straightened watercourse, for the biodiversity and natural flood management benefits this can bring
  • Replacing stiles with gates on public footpaths to promote easier access
  • Restoring drystone walls or hedging
  • Creating scrapes, ponds or other wetland to support a variety of wildlife
  • Creating and promoting a series of farm walks across a cluster of farms, providing new access opportunities, links to the rights of way network and interpretation of farming and of the natural and historic features on the land
  • Conserving historic features on a farm
  • Rewilding an area of land and promoting natural processes
  • Action to reduce carbon emissions, or the use of plastics, on a farm
  • Accessing farm business advice
  • Working with new audiences to enable them to experience the North York Moors

You can apply for both capital and revenue spend.

Payment rates

If you will not make a commercial gain through your project, you could receive up to 100% of the costs.

If you will benefit commercially, you could receive between 40% and 80% of the costs, depending on how much the project will benefit your business.

The Programme will work alongside – not in competition with – Defra’s existing and new schemes, adding value where it is most needed. If a potential project can be rewarded through those schemes instead, you will be made aware of them.

You can still get funding through the Programme if you are in an agri-environment scheme, as long as you’re not paid twice for the same work.

If an activity is equivalent to one under Countryside Stewardship (CS), the Programme payment rate will be the same as the CS rate. If not, we will base Programme funding offers on the projected costs of an activity (with final payments made against evidenced costs).

Maintenance agreements

You will not need to maintain any natural, cultural and access activities you deliver as part of the Programme after your agreement period ends.

Capital infrastructure assets e.g. fences, gates, building restoration, must be maintained for five years from the date of completion.

Machinery assets (for example a brush harvester for grassland restoration) must be maintained for five years from the date of purchase.

Applications process

Before you apply:
  • Speak to Dave Arnott on 01439 772589 or Rebecca Thompson on 01439 772517, email Dave Arnott or Rebecca Thompson for advice on the Programme, including discussing your ideas, payment and intervention rates for your project. Ideally, our project officer might visit your potential project location or meet you to discuss your ideas.
  • Check that you are eligible to apply.
  • Read the application questions and guidance. Make sure you keep within the word limit where asked in the application form and answer all the questions.
  • Have your supporting documents ready to submit with the application form.
How you apply:
  • Email your completed application form (with electronic signature) to
  • Or alternatively, post your completed application form to:
    Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme
    North York Moors National Park Authority
    The Old Vicarage
    YO62 5BP
Once you have applied:

You should expect to hear back from your Protected Landscape team within 10 days of your application being received.

You can submit your application anytime up until the programme closes for applications in 2024. As funding is limited, early applications are encouraged.

Multi-year awards are possible for longer projects. All projects must end by March 2024.

Application assessment

Your application will be scored:

  • 40% for project outcomes - climate, nature, people and place
  • 20% for value for money
  • 20% for how sustainable the project is or the legacy it will leave
  • 20% for how likely you are to carry out the project

Applications over £5,000 will be judged by a Local Assessment Panel. This kind of system has been used locally before for the North York Moors ‘Sustainable Development Fund’.

The Local Assessment Panel will be made up of 8 to 12 people. It is expected to include representatives from the North York Moors National Park, HHAONB, Natural England, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, the farming and land management community and local specialists.

We expect that the panel will meet to make decisions every 6 to 8 weeks.

Applications for less than £5,000 will be scored by a senior member of the National Park team (who has no prior knowledge of the project).

More information

Contact details

If you have a question or would like to discuss the Programme, please contact:

Dave Arnott, Farming in Protected Landscapes Officer on 01439 772589 or by emailing
Rebecca Thompson, Future Farming Policy Officer on 01439 772517 or emailing