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Grants for small scale tree planting (FWN37 Autumn 2021)

13 December 2021

The Forestry Grant Scheme provides fantastic financial support across the forestry industry, facilitating thousands of hectares of tree planting every year.

It is not, however, without its pitfalls. For some landowners the support is not sufficient or tailored towards their goals, for others the prospect of rigid scheme parameters are discouraging, especially when a scheme is small. The economies of scale do not always favour small schemes when seeking support through FGS. Well, there is some good news if you think your scheme sits within these margins, there is additional support out there to fill in some of the gaps in the FGS. Examples of these grants can be found detailed below.

Future Woodland Fund

The Future Woodland Fund is provided by the charity Future Woodlands Scotland (FWS) and works alongside the Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS) as supplementary funding. The aim of FWS is to encourage establishment of new native woodlands and restoration of degraded former native woodlands that have high ecological impact.

FWS will support schemes that can prove they will deliver nature-based climate solutions, enhancement of local wildlife and ecosystem resilience, or provide social benefits for local people through partnership working and collaboration.

Who can Apply?

Land managers aiming to establish a new woodland, or restore a “ghost woodland” with less than 20% canopy cover.

What is Covered?

The Future Woodland Fund will provide payments of £100/ha per annum (although this is understood to be under review) for the first 20 years of the project. This can be paid as 75% up front followed by 25% upon completion of planting if the scheme is between 3 and 5 hectares. In return, the FWS will own all carbon credits generated by the scheme, and a 55-year maintenance contract must be signed with the Woodland Carbon Code to ensure carbon sequestration is delivered. In order to be eligible for funding the project must be between 3 and 100 hectares, consist of native species, be a new scheme, qualify for the FGS, not be a legal requirement, and be on land registered with Rural Payments. More detail is given in Issue 36.

MOREwoods and MOREhedges

The Woodland Trust created the MOREwoods and MOREhedges Grant schemes with the main aim of creating and connecting wildlife habitats across the UK.

Who can Apply?

Landowners and land managers

What is covered?

Both funds will cover up to 75% of the plant, protection and design support costs associated with the project, it will not cover the costs of fencing or planting contractors. The planting must be either New Woodland Creation or New Hedges, restocking or “gapping up” hedges.

Woodlands must be at least 0.5ha, with no maximum limit, and can consist of blocks as small as 0.1ha. The project must also involve a minimum of 500 trees, and the stocking density must be between 1000 and 1600 stems per hectare. Support for hedges require a minimum of 100m to be planted in a run, with 1000m being the maximum funded. Hedges must connect existing or new woodlands of at least 0.1ha in Scotland, or 0.2ha in England.


The Royal Forestry Society (RFS) and Royal Scottish Forestry Society (RSFS) have partnered with train ticket booking service Trainhugger to offer funding to RFS and RSFS members. The goal of the Trainhugger grant is to create a network of climate, disease and pest resilient woodlands across the UK.

Who can Apply?

Personal and corporate RFS and RSFS members (membership starts from £55/year) who are landowners or have permission from the landowner to apply on their behalf.

What is Covered?

The Trainhugger grant offers 50p/tree towards woodland creation projects, restocking, underplanting, enrichment planting, urban/parkland planting, hedges and shelterbelts.

If your project does not fit any of these descriptions it may still be considered for funding, as the central ethos is to put “the right tree in the right place”.

The Trainhugger will not support any single-species woodlands, schemes that do not contribute to resilience, or those with funding already in place to cover the cost of the trees.

Applicants can apply for between 500
and 20,000 trees, and the Trainhugger grant must constitute no less than 51% of the funding spent on tree purchasing.

Crofting Agricultural Grant Scheme (CAGS)

If you are a crofter and your project does not satisfy the requirements of the FGS, then the CAGS may be a useful source of funding for tree planting. This funding is wide-ranging; the goal is to aid and develop agricultural production in crofting businesses, thereby sustaining the economic basis of crofting, helping retain people in rural communities.

Who can Apply?

Tenant and owner-occupier crofters living in the Highlands and Islands Enterprise Area.

What is Covered?

The CAGS provides grant funding to help cover the costs of planting amenity woodlands such as shelterbelts and hedgerows that serve the purpose of protecting livestock or crops, or as windbreaks for horticultural businesses. Funding for commercial forestry is not covered by this grant scheme. The level of funding available will vary from project to project depending on the costs involved, with up to 90% of actual costs funded and a maximum award amount of £25,000 for individuals or £125,000 for group applicants.

Small Tree Planting Grant

The charity Reforesting Scotland offer this grant to schemes that are too small to qualify for any other funding opportunities. The aim is to support micro tree planting schemes that add to the overall reforesting effort in Scotland.

Who can Apply?

Any landowner or manager aiming to plant trees in Scotland. Reforesting Scotland membership is required (membership costs £30/year).

What is Covered?

The Small Tree Planting Grant provides a maximum of £250 in funding per applicant per scheme, with a maximum scheme size of 0.1ha. The application must be made before the scheme is underway.

Orchard Grants

Orchard Grants offered by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) aim to fill the gap in funding for orchards. The goal is to support the biodiversity and heritage values provided by our nation’s orchards through funding the renewal of existing orchards or the creation of new community orchards.

Who can Apply?

Any owner or manager of an existing traditional orchard or an existing/new community orchard.

What is Covered?

The Orchard Grant offers to either supply rootstock and grafting kits or provide £20/tree of funding for fruit trees on rootstock. The maximum support provided covers 4 trees per 0.1ha, which is roughly half of the trees required for a fully stocked site at 10m spacing. Applicants from large orchards will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. For more information on alternatives to FGS grant funding, or to make an application, please visit the following websites:

This article has been published in the Autumn 2021 edition of the Farm Woodland News.  Download a copy to access all articles.  Subscribe to receive newly published editions via email by using the form here.

Young broadleaf trees planted in rows, supported with tree guards and stakes on a gently sloping grassland field with high mountains visible far in the background.

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