Cherries, damsons, quince, desert pears, apricots, almonds, raspberries, mixed berries and more.

My latest folly is the planting of thousands of trees at Lower Farm. I’ve long been fascinated by some of the permaculture ideas, and how we can integrate productive trees into our farmland to improve overall productivity while enhancing wildlife, and protecting soils.

Finally we have some land of our own, where I can trial these ideas. So this winter we have planted Barn Field with orchard trees, berries and nuts, having fenced in securely against deer, rabbits and foxes. No, foxes don’t eat trees, but Sophie and Dai have a lovely flock of laying hens, producing eggs for the pub and Chop House, and they are very happy amongst the new plantings.

We’ve planted loads of different varieties of each, so lots of testing to do on flavour. It will be a year or two (quite a lot longer for some of them) before there’s much to try, but it has already changed the feel of this heavy clay land, and we will be continuing to plant more on wide spacings over the next few years.

Read the Soil Association’s blog about planting trees at the farm.