"Bare- bottom" hedge


I have a long (90ft) south facing natural hedge on one of my boundaries. There are large trees to the south about 80ft away so it is not quite the suntrap it sounds. It's a mixed native species hedge probably planted when my barn was originally converted (12ft high (no problems with height as neighbouring properties a fair distance away)  and it's a great wildlife habitat,

Problem is that in the first 15 or so years of it's life it was badly pruned  and is very leggy with the bottom 2-3 ft very sparse and open. Any suggestions re suitable plants to under plant to give a bit of density low down?  Also in few spots some of the hedge plants have died and I'd like to get some relatively quick growing but "in keeping" replacements in place .


Soil is VERY heavy clay with large flints and like most clays varies from dry to waterlogged but obviously the established hedge is very water greedy and it's very difficult to dig a decent planting hole due to roots and stones and difficult access. Ant suggestions.



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