What do more trees in our farming landscape look like, in both inspiring and practical ways? Integrating trees into the farming landscape is a key strategy in Chew Valley Plants Trees’ vision of doubling the tree cover by 2030. 

Agroforestry is the practice that unlocks this strategy, demonstrating how trees can have multiple yields with a significant net-gain boost for farmers and landowners who integrate this approach into their landscape management. Harvests of fruit, nuts, timber and fuel are possible whilst at the same time providing shelter and fodder for livestock, and beneficial relationships with the life above and below ground - pollinators, microbes and mycorhiza to name but a few. 

Three Hares Farm is an exciting new farm exemplifying the multiple benefits of incorporating trees into the farming landscape. Organically farmed on the south facing slopes of Dundry near Winford by family Albert, Rachael Dodd and Humphrey Lloyd, and joined by Diana Powell of Fieldfare Orchard; the 38 acres has been co-owned by the team since 2020, and cooperatively managed as a CIC (Community Interest Company) since Spring 2023.

So far the farm has planted over 500m of hedge (2500 trees), interspersed every 20m with ‘standards’ that will grow to full size; whilst over 500m of old hedgerow is being layed (with the assistance of Colin Clutterbuck and others). 

Agroforestry nut and fruit crop alleys are being planted in strips between the vegetable plots in operation to enhance the yield on the footprint of land put to horticulture; whilst the commercial cut flower production also has permanent lines of trees and shrubs providing produce, shelter and biodiversity. 

Fields used for livestock grazing will have a network of trees for silvopasture providing better  livestock care, offering shelter and fodder for cattle, increasing their well-being and productivity. Finally, at the bottom of their land, a ‘riparian buffer strip’ exists of mature and regenerating woodland to protect the waterway that seasonally forms. 

Furthermore, Fieldfare Orchard is a tree nursery based on the site with a wide variety of unusual trees and shrubs for fruit and nut production, adding to the exciting diversity found on site. 

It’s still early days for Three Hares Farm, with more trees to plant and plans to be fulfilled. However, with the plan they have of incorporating trees into their farming vision, it’s certain that their site will be resilient to both the changing climate and changing farming economy, whilst offering an example to others of what farming for the future looks like.