Thanks so much to all for the replies and great advice. I haven't had time to respond because I have been hard at work on Area 1. I've been turning over the sod and making pseudo-raised beds by piling on compost, leaf litter and some old hay to help add organic matter, making swale paths between them and planting fruit and nut trees and berry bushes. I was pleasantly surprised when over-turning the sod I came across lots of earthworms and other critters. That tells me letting the dandelions and other "weeds" take over last year has paid off in fairly loose, brownish soil. Lots of rock though.
I have been meaning to take photos but haven't yet. I'll try to post some soon.
My next step is to guild my fruit trees but I have a question about how to go about it. I want to do comfrey, yarrow, nasturtiums, chicory, dandelions (already present in abundance) and an N-fixing cover crop. What is the best way to plant these from seed? Do I need to overturn the sod around the trees, add some compost, sew seeds and mulch or is there a simpler way that doesn't involve pricey compost and disturbing the dandelions that are already there?