Group of people on a hillside
Group of people on a hillside

press to zoom
Jenny  Walking Sheep Up Street
Jenny Walking Sheep Up Street

press to zoom
Beekeepers examining a frame of bees
Beekeepers examining a frame of bees

press to zoom
Group of people on a hillside
Group of people on a hillside

press to zoom

Dartmoor Environmental Land Management Test & Trials (2020/21)


Dartmoor was selected by Defra as one of the tests and trials sites, informing the development of England's new agri-environment scheme for farmers.


From January 2020 until November 2021  the test and trial worked with the Dartmoor farming community to answer four main questions:

  1. How do we develop a land management plan which works for common land?

  2. What does a payment by results system which works for both 'home farms' and the commons look like?

  3. Is there a role for private finance within ELMs at a local level?

  4. What role can National Park Authorities play in shaping, facilitating and delivering ELMs?


The test and trial was overseen by a Project Board and an Advisory Team. The Project Board is made up of representatives from Dartmoor National Park Authority, Dartmoor Commoners Council, Dartmoor Common Owners Association, The Duchy of Cornwall and Natural England, independently Chaired by John Waldon.


The Advisory Team was comprised of volunteers from the Dartmoor farming and landowner community who admirably steered the content and output of the project.

In answer to the research question the project developed a number of tools:

  • A scorecard, developed by the Organic Research Centre, to be used in conjunction with a map and advice, to deliver an outcome focus land management plan for home farms and commons.

  • A satellite mapping system, developed by The South West Partnership for Environment and Economic Prosperity, which can produce a UKHab map for the whole of Dartmoor and monitor change over time.

  • A payment structure, based on the scorecard, to deliver a payment by results approach that recognises and rewards the value of public goods farms already deliver whilst providing additional financial reward for those willing to go a bit further.

  • A potential delivery model for Common agreements based on where consensus was achieved during this project. 


In presenting the outcomes of this project to Defra the key findings were identified as:


  • Land Management Plans should be based on a scorecard supported by mapping and advice

  • People support a payment by results approach

  • Independent facilitation, within a clear framework, is an essential investment in better outcomes

  • A Dartmoor place based approach to identifying priorities for delivery and providing advice

  • ELM should be co-produced with farmers and landowners


On a final note the project would like to say a sincere thank you to the many people who gave their time to this test and trial,

If you would like to stay up to date with how Defra are developing ELM nationally then the best place to start is their blog: 

This page only displays our most recent blogs, a full list of all the Dartmoor ELMs outputs to date is available through our blog archive