Posted: 02/12/2012 at 16:25
Andrew, you don't say what kind of 'ferns'. Are you talking about bracken or ferns which grow in clumps? You will never get rid of bracken by digging. Chemical control is feasible or cutting down until it weakens, which will take a long time.
Most of us do not live where the application of pigs is recommended!
Brambles can be dug out; it is the best method. Hard work but effective.
Take care not to try and tackle too big an area at once or you will become dispirited. Start on a small area and get that up and growing before you expand.