Brambles are a great multi-purpose plant. Shelter for birds and mammals, flowers for the bees in spring and blackberries for me from summer into autumn. They also make a great barrier which is why I've left a deep layer of them on two sides of the plot to stop Billy the burglar getting to the houses on the other side, one of which happens to be mine. But they were starting to encroach too much into the orchard which is why I've been cutting them back a bit.
Winter's a good time for digging out brambles, the roots come out much easier when the soil is wet.