The battle of the brambles 

This mystery field has been on our to do list since we moved here almost three years ago. When we were viewing the property, the particulars held promise of beautiful treasure inside, stating that there were apple trees galore in there. When we went to look, we were confronted with a gigantic jungle of brambles and willow. As far as the eye could see, brambles thick and tall covered the top half and willow, fallen and regrown blocked the view down to the stream below. From the road, if you stood on tiptoes, you could just make out some apple blossom in spring, and as autumn approached apples adorned the branches of the tallest tree that had managed to escape the thorns of the bramble. As we’ve been here, the blossom and apples have gotten fewer and fewer. Last spring we saw no blossom at all. This was a challenge if ever there was!

The forgotten field

As there was plenty of work for us to be doing with the cottage, the wood and the field in front of the cottage, we left this field to its own devices. Never far from our thoughts, we plotted and schemed our plan of attack, and dreamed of wildflower meadows under heavily laiden apple trees…….

We thought of using pigs to clear the field. A nice idea, but we’d have to clear an area for electric fencing, and we weren’t ready to commit to our own livestock yet. We investigated using heavy machinery, thankfully not for long. And then Mr Bumbleandme became the proud owner of a brush cutter, knicknamed ‘The Obliterator!’.   

Shortly before Christmas the challenge drew too strong for Mr Bumbleandme and the battle of the brambles commenced…

Let battle commence

Within a few hours, an area the size of two large building plots had been shredded to the ground, bramble twigs lay ripped and torn on the grown. In the distance you could see the height of the brambles undulating, as though they were a piece of fabric, gently resting on something. It reminded me of old houses in films were furniture was covered in cloth, and when the owners returned, they would throw the cloths in the air and the dust would fill the room. An extremely excited Mr Bumbleandme proclaimed there were trees underneath! 

Bit by bit

Bit by bit, Mr Bumbleandme is uncovering the most magical field. You can hear the trees sighing as he frees them from the bramble. So far he’s uncovered four apple trees, one fallen apple tree, two oak trees, and three unidentified trees. We can see at least three more apple trees under the bramble. It’s really very exciting.

The other side of the gate
Uncovering the trees
Sunlight hitting the ground

We’re not quite sure how to deal with the bramble when they return in the spring, no doubt with a renewed vigour, but at least it’s a start, and Rome wasn’t built in a day. Bit by bit, we’ll clear the land and encourage the grass and wildflowers to regrow, whilst keeping as many of the trees as we can. And our reward for this hard and gargantuan effort? Well apples course!! They’d better be tasty!

One tangled apple tree


I love this view
It’s a lovely field


6 thoughts on “The battle of the brambles 

  1. What an exciting start to the New Year! It will be wonderful to follow your further adventures into Mystery Field and to discover what plans develop. Brambles are a pain and I have carefully selected areas where I use Roundup…other areas I have left for the brambles to grow as I just love blackberry picking…and eating! Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s an ongoing fight with the brambles. Here as well, but we seem to come out on top – slowly. All the best to you and the apples and a prosperous 2017.


  3. Please do not resort to the chemicals unless there is no alternative. It will take time, but if you keep cutting you’ll win in the end – but do leave a bramble bank for you and the wildlife to share if you can.
    If you can secure the field boundary, try to borrow some sheep – a hardy native breed if possible as they’ll eat anything. I’d recommend Hebrideans (sheep not people) which are more goat than sheep and will eat anything, but they might be a scarce commodity in Wales!
    Look forward to hearing more.


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