Make the most of Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) and Uplands Entry Level Stewardship (UELS) by choosing the right options to benefit the historic environment.
By adopting the ELS and UELS options appropriate to the features on their land farmers can help to protect our historic environment. There are three groups of options:
Archaeology under cultivation. Taking buried archaeological features out of cultivation (the preferred option), or reducing the depth of cultivation on archaeological features protects them from further damage.
Archaeology under grass. Preventing damage by controlling activities such as feeding stock, harrowing and rolling, and the use of heavy vehicles. Preventing the location of mineral licks and water troughs close to archaeological features. Grazing or cutting to prevent scrub encroachment, which can cause damage to archaelogical features.
Traditional farm buildings. Ensuring that weatherproof traditional farm buildings are kept in a watertight condition to avoid further deterioration.
The relevant ELS options are listed in full in the leaflet Farming for the historic environment.
In the uplands there are four groups of options, including one for traditional farm buildings as above and:
Traditional boundaries and historic stock enclosures. Maintaining and restoring traditional stone walls, earth banks and hedges.
Archaeological features. Protecting and maintaining archaeological features by suitable stock and vegetation management, and maintaining the visibility of archaeological features on moorland.
Upland woodland and trees. Managing and retaining woodland in the landscape by excluding livestock. Protecting in-field trees and establishing hedgerow trees.
The relevant ELS and UELS options are listed in full in the leaflet Farming in the uplands for landscape and the historic environment.
All historic environment features are important and would benefit from the use of historic environment options to encourage their best possible long-term management. To help you choose the right options we have prepared lists of the sites most at risk from cultivation and scrub encroachment. To view these select your region from the links at the top of this page.
The following publications provide detailed guidance relevant to the historic environment options:
'Farming the historic landscape' is a series of booklets from the Historic Environment – Local Management website:
The historic environment is very vulnerable to change. It cannot be recreated, and once lost it is gone forever.
Since 1945, 10% of recorded archaeological features have been destroyed, and 30% damaged, by agriculture. Much of this damage has been caused by arable cultivation. Even regular cultivation to the same depth can result in damage to archaeological sites. 9% of all scheduled monuments are still being actively ploughed.
Archaeological sites in grassland have tended to survive in far better condition. However, 30% of all scheduled monuments are at risk from unmanaged natural processes, such as scrub and bracken encroachment, erosion and burrowing animals. These factors, alongside overstocking or inappropriate placing of feeders, can cause significant physical damage.
Modern farming practices, larger machines and new building standards for animal welfare have caused farm buildings and steadings to become redundant or amalgamated. As a result, traditional farm buildings are the single largest category of ‘at risk’ building on local authority risk registers.
By choosing the right historic environment options, locating them in the right place and managing them effectively farmers can preserve this vital part of our cultural heritage for the enjoyment and education of future generations.