On my early bike ride this morning three deer tittuped daintily across the drive, from the direction of New Plantation. Lady, trotting beside me, held to her principle of not chasing anything bigger than herself. A pretty sight, but that wood is supposed to be deer-fenced. Later Ken told me that a branch has fallen across the fence, so that’s where they are getting in.

The seven acre New Plantation was ‘new’ about a hundred and fifty years ago, planted as a fox covert by the tenth earl Ferrers. The trees, largely hawthorn, are coming to the end of their lives, and every few years we replant an area. Excluding the deer removes one of the hazards. It is one of four areas on the estate where we are planning to put in some trees this winter.

But what to plant? Ash is off the list, though I’m not felling our healthy trees in the hope that many will survive the disease. Oak is an obvious one, and cherry, hazel, larch, walnut, holly. What opportunities will climate change bring? Asking around among my forestry friends Wild Service tree has been recommended, though I’ve yet to learn more about it. Fifty years ago I planted a dozen Coast Redwood, but frost killed them all. Now we have one in the hall grounds, planted twenty years ago in the ‘hospice’ days, which is making a fine tree. And what about Douglas Fir? It’s time to be experimental.