Countryside Stewardship was introduced as a pilot scheme in England in 1991 and operates outside the Environmentally Sensitive Areas. Payments are made to farmers and other land managers to enhance and conserve English landscapes, their wildlife and history and to help people to enjoy them.
The scheme has now closed to new applicants and has been superseded by the Environmental Stewardship scheme. Some existing agreements will, however, continue until 2014. Farmers with an existing agreement, which lasts for 10 years, receive an annual payment on each hectare of land entered into the scheme. Grants are also available towards capital works such as hedge laying and planting, and repairing dry-stone walls.
Until the launch of Environmental Stewardship, Countryside Stewardship was the Government’s main scheme for the wider countryside, aiming to improve the natural beauty and diversity of the countryside, enhance, restore and re-create targeted landscapes, their wildlife habitats and historical features, and to improve opportunities for public access.
The CSS Monitoring Programme was undertaken between 1997 and 2000. This involved two modules, and an overview report addressing the whole programme was produced.