The Fields

Field 1 and Field 2 

Map of Springdale

The story so far:

Up in the fields, just called 1 and 2 for now, is the beginning of our project.

It is an exciting prospect.
The fields are behind the property, just over 2 acres in total, 3 if you include the garden around the house.  The land faces South/South East and faces the sun all day.
It is laid to grass at present and was previously paddock.
In the past it has been farmed as a market garden.

The grass was quite short, although wet and boggy in places after the very wet winter in 2014.

View of field 1 and 2

View of field 1 and 2 in the background

March 2014

March 2014 – looking from Field 2 to 1

Field 2 looking over to Field 1

Field 2 looking over to Field 1

This map gives an approximate indication of the direction of the views in the photos

This map gives an approximate indication of the direction of the views in the photos

The fields dried up well during the summer months but the vegetation then began to grow rapidly over the summer.
This made it impossible to walk in, as much of the vegetation had reached waist height.  The photos below are interesting because we can compare the differences in appearance in Spring, Summer and Winter.

 

March 2014 on the left and August 2014 on the right View from Field 1 to Field 2

March 2014 on the left and August 2014 on the right
View from Field 1 to Field 2

Field 1 August 2014 with a view up the hill

Field 1 August 2014 with a view up the hill

 

View up the hill into Field 1

View up the hill into Field 1 – October 2014

In Wales, you are not allowed to have hedges cut before 1st September.  This allows birds and other wildlife to feed and nest and breed in the hedgerows.  They also provide shelter and little corridors for wildlife to travel along
All hedges around both our fields were very thick, long, and very overgrown as they had not been cut for about 18 months.
Eventually, after conversations with neighbours, we discovered someone who had a tractor and hedge attachment, and who had cut the hedge for the previous owner.
We booked him up to come and cut it all for us, including the lane side which was blocking the view of neighbours up the hill as the hedges had grown so long.
Nothing more was done in the fields until the farmer arrived to do this in December.  The following photos are not the best quality as they were taken in fading light but are all part of the process of managing the fields and hedges.

Very short hedge on the top side of field 2

Very short hedge on the top side of field 2

 

 

 

 

 

Tractor finishing cutting of field in the dark - December 2014

Tractor finishing cutting of field in the dark – December 2014

August 2014 on the left and December 2014 on the right View up the hill in Field 1

August 2014 on the left and December 2014 on the right
View up the hill in Field 1

December 2014 - Field 1

December 2014 – Field 1

So by Christmas 2014 the fields and bordering hedges were in a manageable state.

Now to put our mark on the land ….

Starting from scratch will be hard work.  We’ve got a long way to go and lots to learn. But I’m sure the feeling of satisfaction as we develop our land will be hard to beat.  Not to mention the health benefits of exercise and fresh air.

Beech Hedge – last week in April 2017

One hundred and fifty bare root Beech trees

One hundred and fifty bare root Beech trees

We chose a Beech hedge as it should grow up quickly around the veggie plot and give protection from the wind.  It’s a good screening plant and thickens up well. We put in 3 plants per metre and used the slit planting method.  This was suitable as the plants weren’t too big (60 – 80cm).  With this method you lay down some weed control matting.  Then make a slit in the fabric.  Using a spade you make a slit the width of the blade, coat the dampened roots of the plant with Mycorrhizal Fungi and using a side to side swishing motion slot the roots of the plant into the opening.  Fill up the slit with extra soil if necessary and firm in, to the level that the plant was originally growing.  Water well and ensure they do not dry out in the first year.  Our plants were bought from Ashridge Nurseries where we bought the fruit trees from for the orchard

Black plastic matting down to force grass to die down and allow Beech bare roots to grow without competition from nearby grass roots

Black plastic matting down to force grass to die down and allow Beech bare roots to grow without competition from nearby grass roots

pegging out the matting

pegging out the matting

Preparing for a Beech Hedge around the veggie plot. A trial to add protection from the wind and eventually animals

Preparing for a Beech Hedge around the veggie plot. A trial to add protection from the wind and eventually animals

Slit planting the bare root young beech trees

Slit planting the bare root young beech trees

View of veggie plot

View of veggie plot

Beech hedge completed 26.4.17

Beech hedge completed 26.4.17

Beech hedge completed 26.4.17 - view of top side

Beech hedge completed 26.4.17 – view of top side

 

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