Some of the hedges in the orchard have been removed during previous ownership. It is our plan to restore the hedges by planting new bushes along the original line of hedgerow. In a few years, when the bushes have grown large enough we'll have them laid in a traditional Derbyshire /Staffordshire manner to restore the hedge.
The first step is to raise some young plants in a nursery area on the orchard. As soon as the leaves have fallen this autumn, we'll take some hardwood cuttings to grow the replacement trees. We're planning on using a mix of Hawthorn, Hazel, Blackthorn, Elm, Ash and Oak. For the boggier areas we'll also include some Alder. We'll propagate the cuttings in pots in the nursery area with a target of 250 saplings ready planting in the next two years. We may supplement the local plants with some native Hornbeam purchased from a nursery.
During the winter 2016/17 we'll be planting more willow (Salix Verminalis) on the river bank using cuttings from the willow grove we've created in the orchard. The spilings we planted last year on the river bank near the road have been reasonably successful. This winter's planting will be in the lower section of river bank which is prone to flooding. The bank in that area is quite soft and is prone to damage from heavy agricultural vehicles used by the neighbouring farmer. When it is established, the willow root mass will help to reinforce the bank. This will reduce future damage and erosion. We'll pollard cut the willow over the years at approximately head height to encourage reasonably thick trunks. We can pleach cut and layer the trunks on the river bank in future years to form a living wall at the top of the river bank.