FARMERS and landowners in Cumbria have until the May 1 to apply for capital grants worth up to £10,000 to help pay for the restoration of hedges and stone walls.

Alistair Cochrane, director with land and property specialists Strutt & Parker, recommends that farmers – both owner occupiers and tenants – consider making an application to the 2020 Hedgerows and Boundary Grant Scheme.

The scheme falls under the umbrella of Countryside Stewardship, but farmers and landowners can make a standalone application without having to sign up to a more complex five-year environmental management agreement.

He said: “This is a great opportunity to do something really positive for our landscape and environment, with the benefit of grant assistance. The payment rates can represent quite a high percentage of the typical costs of carrying out the work, so applicants can restore substantial lengths of hedgerow or wall at relatively modest net cost.

“Pressure on farm incomes means that field boundaries may not have been touched for some time, so this offers the possibility of restoring them without undue strain on the farm budget. These field boundaries are a valuable part of our heritage, landscape and biodiversity, as well as being important as stock-proof barriers.”