Woodland creation and Tree planting opportunities – North East.

Richard Wilson Woodland Creation, Business Development Advisor for the Forestry Commission, spent some time with us at the Mart last week helping us to navigate the complex world of woodland grants. Below is a summary of the various funding options out there…As always if you’d like to discuss further, please don’t hesitate to contact Carol 07753693111/ 01434 603078 / cjohnson@hexhammart.co.uk


Bigger blocks of woodland creation (over 5ha), the Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG) would be a good route, also if there are likely to be some surveys to be carried out.

This provides £1000 for you to put together an application and do a desk based analysis for woodland creation on your proposed area of land.


Grants will be offered in two stages:

• Stage 1 (a Fixed Payment of £1,000) – this is paid for a desk-based exercise to

complete Stage 1 of a Woodland Creation Design Plan template identifying

constraints and opportunities for the site and preparing at least one map (a Site

Context Map). If the Forestry Commission decides there’s potential for planting

woodland on the proposed site then you’ll be offered a Stage 2 agreement. You

must not start work on the Stage 1 of the Woodland Creation Design Plan

template until a signed grant agreement is in place with the Forestry


• Stage 2 (a Standard Payment of £150 per hectare up to a maximum of

£30,000, minus the £1000 paid at Stage 1) – You get a Stage 2 payment for

producing a woodland creation design plan by completing Stage 2 of the Woodland

Creation Design Plan Template. You will find a list of required maps and plans in the

Template. This includes: Site Appraisal Plan, a Design Concept Plan and spatial plan

showing the final woodland creation design plan. Where planting is proposed on

existing semi-natural habitat a Phase 2 habitat survey will also be required.

If your application is under ten hectares in size, we will pay a minimum of £500 for

Stage 2.

• Supplementary Payment: If a more detailed assessment is needed (such as a

habitat survey, landscape and visual impact assessment, or an archaeological survey)

then you can apply for a Supplementary Payment. The Supplementary Payment

application form should be submitted when you claim your Stage 1 payment. We will

pay 70% of the actual costs based on three quotes for these assessments but the

total amount of funding (including Stage 1 and 2 payments) is capped at £30,000 per

project. This Supplementary Payment is awarded subject to funding and at our


The route to take for stand alone woodland creation would be through the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO).  The application process is clunky, but it does provide some good rates for the capital items.  In some cases great payments called Additional Contributions, if you hit various target areas for planting. These could be for benefiting water quality or flooding, expanding existing woodland or for public access. There is also £350/ha each year for 10 years to help cover the maintenance of the project.


To be eligible for a EWCO Agreement, your application must cover a minimum area of 1 hectare with individual blocks of at least 0.1 hectare each. Blocks must have a minimum width of 20 metres (with the exception of riparian buffers and shelterbelts, which can have a minimum width of 10 metres).

With all the above these are the Forestry Commission grant funds available for Woodland Creation, this link below takes you to an overview page which can be helpful too. 


The Woodland Trust has grants that fund trees and hedges.

MOREwoods funding is designed to create new habitat for wildlife across the UK. Eligible projects must plant:

  • at least 0.5 hectares of new woodland and
  • 1000-1600 trees per hectare.

The area can be made up of multiple smaller blocks of at least 0.1ha each. There is no maximum size limit, although larger projects may be advised of other grant schemes available.


The MOREhedges project is intended to create new ecological links with woodland in the surrounding landscape. New hedging must connect with:

  • at least 0.2 hectares of existing or newly planted woodland (0.1ha in Scotland)
  • woodland via established hedgerows within 500m of the new hedge.

You must plant at least 100 metres of new hedgerow in a single run. 

They cannot support the replanting or gapping up of existing hedgerows. 



Great Northumberland Forest (GNF), If the land falls within Northumberland. (Inside of the National Park and AONB there is additional help from their internal staff). 

This is part of the Northumberland County Council and they are assisting landowners with woodland creation and tree planting.  They have their own funding pot, so can provide funding for hedges, in field trees and standard woodland creation. This is to fill the gap where the EWCO grant does not fit the landowners needs. Currently no maintenance payments, but does pay some up front cost for capital works.


North East Community Forest (NECF) There are also other opportunities open to landowners in the North East, across Newcastle, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside, Sunderland and the more urban areas of County Durham, which includes a 10mile buffer.

North East Community Forest do a similar thing to the Great Northumberland Forest, but currently include a maintenance payment and are very keen on projects that will have public access and engagement.  Works well for the land near populations, but is not limited to this.