Farmers in the south west's National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are eligible for new funding.

The new Farming in Protected Landscapes programme is to help farmers to make improvements to the natural environment and improve public access on their land.

The programme has been developed by Defra with the support of a group of AONB and National Park staff from across the country.

It will provide funding for one-off projects which allow farmers and land managers in protected landscapes to:

• support nature recovery – such as increasing habitats to improve biodiversity or greater connectivity between habitats

• mitigate the impacts of climate change – such as reducing flood risk or storing more carbon

• provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and its cultural heritage

• support nature-friendly and sustainable farm businesses

Projects could include creating wetlands or wildflower meadows to support wildlife, providing new or easier public access, reducing flood risk, restoring drystone walls and hedges, conserving historic features such as lime kilns and mining heritage, or action to reduce carbon emissions or use of plastics on farms.

Dartmoor National Park Authority chief executive Kevin Bishop, said: “Farming and land management are intrinsically important to what makes Dartmoor National Park so special as well as its conservation, cultural heritage and the protection of its rare habitats and wildlife.

"It remains an important part of the economy and the Dartmoor way of life.

“This is a great opportunity for farmers and land managers – whether in the private, public or charitable sectors.

"Funding can help support sustainable farm business, nature recovery, tackle climate change and offer opportunities for people to access Dartmoor in new or improved ways.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “We have an opportunity to create a new chapter for our protected landscapes.

“The work that we are going to take forward will contribute to our commitment to protect 30% of our land by 2030, and boost biodiversity, while designating more areas of the country for their natural beauty.

“Our Farming in Protected Landscapes programme will provide additional investment to allow farmers to work in partnership with our National Park Authorities and AONB teams to improve public access.”

The programme opens from July 1 and closes on January 31, 2022.

With so many protected landscapes in the south west, including Exmoor and Dartmoor National Parks and no less than twelve AONBs, it is hoped the new funding will help with the transition to the new ways of Defra supporting farming that are being rolled out over the next few years.

Exmoor National Park Authority chief executive Sarah Bryan, said: “We want these changes to be positive for farming and positive for our beautiful landscape, capitalising on the many examples of good land management we already have here in the National Park.

"We would love to hear from anyone interested in discussing how Defra’s Farming in Protected Landscapes programme might support their ideas.”

Farmers and land managers can find out more and register their interest by visiting the National Park's website.