NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: What can I do with pasture land?  (Read 3736 times)


  • Joined Jul 2018
What can I do with pasture land?
« on: July 12, 2018, 08:31:18 pm »
 :wave: hi all
I"m new here so hopefully I'm posting in right bit. Bit of background, I live in Cornwall and I've recently, and unexpectedly lost both my parents. The inheritance left isn't life changing in the sense of paying off mortgages, moving to dream home etc so I've put an offer in for an acre of pastureland (much to the horror of my sisters!) I've always had a dream to own a little piece of land to grow trees or flowers on (as I dont' have much of a garden) Now I'm learning all sorts of planning restrictions to the point I might not even be able to grow native trees as it would change the land use? Despite endless searches trying to find the differences between Agricultural and Pasture land and what I might be able to do with an acre of pasture/grazing land I'm still none the wiser. Can anyone on here advise me please  :sunshine:
Voss Electric Fence


  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow. Some say it's in England.
Re: What can I do with pasture land?
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2018, 01:04:17 am »
Hi Saffyem and welcome to the forum.

The legal definition of "agricultural land" allows for a number of activities, other than just grazing or annual "farm" crops, and includes, for example, horticulture, woodlands and allotments.  (The legal definition of "agriculture" is different though:  for instance, horticulture is not "agriculture" - I mention in passing as I found it all a bit confusing at first). 

If your use of the land falls under the accepted uses of agricultural land, there will be no need to seek planning permission for change of use.

You cannot, however, extend your private garden into a field next-door to your private home:  that would be change of use and you would be given a good going over by planning authority if anyone brought it to their attention.

If planting tress;  in some instances you need a preliminary Foresty Commission impact assessment.  I can't remember whether there is a threshold for acerage, but I had to seek their assessment when considering planting 5ac of Christmas trees.  FC decided my proposal did not require a full Environmental Impact Assessment (ref EU environmental legislation).  I can't imagine 1ac of trees would twitch anyone's goat, but you might want to check out Envir' Agency or Forestry Commission guidance (or ring them) before planting other than a few hedgerow trees. 

No doubt others with a better grasp (or better memory) of finer details regarding change of use will come along with comment idc.  In meantime, I'll leave you with this:  I knew I would need planning permission for new storage facilities, but I made a  "Do I need planning permission" submission to Cornwall Planning, outlining my proposal to convert pasture to horticultural use (a tree nursery business with other agri'/horti' bits and pieces added on) to substantiate the need for equipment storage etc, just to see whether there was something I might have overlooked.  Very surprised, I received notice that it amounted to change of use which would, in itself require PP.  I contested the latter (being fairly confident the "advice" was incorrect), but received no reply.  Slightly doubting my position, as a result, I submitted my full planning app':  nary a mention was made of change of use during subsequent discussions or in the eventual notice of approval!   
« Last Edit: July 16, 2018, 01:11:07 am by arobwk »


  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: What can I do with pasture land?
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2018, 08:57:30 am »
I'm sure there's ways of fudging around the definitions. Firstly I suppose it depends on your neighbours - where i am they generally turn a blind eye since nothing I do impacts on them. If anything they stay friendly and can be approached for help (if a tree falls or I get stuck in the swamp again). Have a word and see if they're bothered at all.

I know I keep repeating myself here but your boundaries/hedges can easily be turned into fan trained, espalier or cordon fruit rows, nut bushes and the like. It's only if you start growing stuff that'll be accessible from the other side of a hedge and is toxic to pasturing animals that neighbours would get miffed. You could probably get away with many years of 'test plots' to see how well veggies grow on that land...and any flowers are tests of companion plantings??? And you can eat lots of flowers - chrysanthemums, nasturtiums, runner bean flowers - search edible flowers for a huge list. then you have a slew of very attarctive 'wild' flowers and plants to make any meadow section look super... just ask prince charlie. Finally a few hens wandering around free range with a moveable night shelter and you have pasturing animals and eggs.


  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: What can I do with pasture land?
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2018, 10:54:30 am »
Saffyem  - there is no difference between agricultural and pasture land! Pasture is an agricultural use, as is growing any plants (essentially). Growing a few flowers for your own use, or planting some trees on an acre of land is not going to flag up any problems with the planners. Flowers are eaten nowadays anyway, and as pgkvet says there are ways of getting round tree planting in the unlikely event that anyone is bothered.
Congratulations on your prospective purchase of the land. They don't make it any more and it will give you years of enjoyment and a permanent reminder of your parents.
Unless you are doing anything incredibly radical and controversial  with your land, and I can't think of anything that you would be likely to plant that this would apply to, you are best not consulting the planners. (Putting up buildings is another matter but  plants is what agriculture is about.) So my advice is to just get on with it and enjoy. :thumbsup: [size=78%]  [/size]
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.


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