Hedge Britannia

For those of you interested in learning more about British hedges, you may like to tune in to Radio Four’s Book of the Week, Hedge Britannia by Hugh Barker. The first of five episodes has already aired, but is available to ‘listen again’ for 19 days.

The BBC says:

Hugh Barker, a hedge enthusiast, has journeyed across Britain to explore its remarkable variety of hedgerows.

The checkerboard pattern of lowland Britain as seen from the air reveals a history of boundaries and enclosures. The author’s childhood weekends were spent contributing to this millennia old obsession for tidy borders by clipping the hedges of his parents suburban garden.

Over the course of his travels he discovers how hedges are amongst our most ancient monuments, meets hedge-laying champions and topiary fanatics, and sees the lengths to which some people will go to annoy the neighbours. Along the way he tells how a connection between paradise and the garden hedge grew up, why the British Army planted a barrier hedge hundreds of miles long in India, and how the notorious enclosures during the Industrial Revolution turned the country upside-down.

And if you don’t manage to tune in or ‘listen again’, you can always read the book!

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