We have a new website go to gov.scot

Management of Cover For Corncrakes

Option closed to new applications


The aim of this Option is to manage areas which will provide vegetation cover for the protection of Corncrakes, their eggs and fledglings, early and late in the breeding season.

What this will achieve

This Option, carried out adjacent to fields under Corncrake-friendly management, will help to maintain the conditions for Corncrakes to breed successfully. It will benefit Corncrakes arriving back from wintering grounds in April and May and also provide shelter late in the season when most of the surrounding grassland has been cut and/or grazed. This is because Corncrakes prefer vegetation which is at least 20 cm (8 inches) high.

Other Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species that may benefit include the Brown Hare.

What you can do


  • This Option must be carried out adjacent to land entered into the Mown Grassland for Corncrakes and Chough Option
  • each individual area of early and late cover must be between 0.15 hectares and 1.0 hectare in size, subject to a maximum total area of 5.0 hectares. You may also create an additional 1.0 hectare of early and late cover under the Creation and Management of Cover for Corncrakes Option
  • grazing is not permitted from 1 March until 30 September inclusive except with the prior written agreement of the Scottish Ministers. At other times, grazing must not exceed 0.3 farm LU/ha except with the prior written agreement of the Scottish Ministers
  • cutting of the area may only be undertaken with the prior written agreement of the Scottish Ministers
  • pesticides must not be applied to the managed area except with the prior written agreement of Scottish Ministers for activities such as spot treatment of scheduled weeds (i.e. creeping, spear or field thistle, curled or broadleaved dock and common ragwort) or non-native invasive species (i.e. Giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam, Rhododendron ponticum or Japanese knotweed).

Who can apply?

All managers of land within the Argyll Islands, Skye, Small Isles, Western Isles, Orkney and parts of the North Sutherland and West Argyll coast that support Corncrake populations.

Eligibility criteria

Farmed land in the target area is eligible for this Option.

This Option is available on reverted improved grassland or unimproved grassland on in-bye with clumps of suitable tall vegetation such as iris, nettles, cow parsley or rush.

The combined areas of existing and created late cover for Corncrakes managed under a single undertaking should not exceed 6 hectares.

Land receiving payments for similar management under other agri-environment schemes is not eligible under this Option.

Please see Definitions of Land Types page for more details.

What costs could be supported

For a comprehensive list of Capital Items click here. Any cost claimed must be fully justified. The following are examples of what may be claimed:

When completing your Proposal, you can select the appropriate capital item(s) from the dropdown list of standard cost capital items for this Option.

In addition to the above capital items, financial support of up to 100% of eligible actual costs is available in respect of the following:

Please note that these capital items will not appear in the dropdown list of Standard Cost capital items for this Option and will need to be entered manually in the box for Actual Cost capital items. Only costs for the types of capital works listed above should be entered in the Actual Cost capital items box for this Option. Any other costs entered cannot be considered for funding.

To ensure value for money we require you to provide 2 competitive quotes for any capital items applied for which are based on actual cost. If, however, you are seeking grant support towards something so specialised it is only available through 1 source then we would accept 1 quote. Please see the guidance on quotes and estimates for more information.

Rate of support

This is a 5-year commitment. We will pay you £162 per hectare per year. We will pay at the end of each year.


The inspector will check the requirements (as detailed above under 'what you can do') of the Option are being met, by a visual assessment on the day of the inspection.

Beneficiaries must comply with the requirements of cross compliance and the minimum requirements for fertiliser and plant protection products. You must also comply with the requirements to avoid damaging any features of historic or archaeological interest, and follow Scottish Ministers' guidance for the protection of such areas or features (detailed in links below).

The following is a brief overview of the inspection procedures, for a full explanation please see links below:

Inspectors will check:

  • Area is next to land managed under Mown Grassland for Corncrakes and Chough Option
  • Plots are between 0.15 ha and 1.0 ha, the total managed is not more than 5 ha.
  • Eligible plots are reverted improved grassland or unimproved grassland on in-bye with clumps of tall vegetation such as iris, nettles or cow parsley or reedbed.
  • No grazing has occurred without prior written agreement from Scottish Ministers
  • Claimed capital items have been completed to approved amounts and scheme standards

List of links to relevant technical guidance