The world’s biggest hedge

About 5 miles along the main road south from where I live there stands a colossus of the botanical world.

The Meikleour (pronounced M’kloor) beech hedge is believed to be the tallest and longest hedge in the world.

Planted in 1745, this year it celebrates its 270th birthday.

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A bit of foliage, but not just any old bit of foliage.

The hedge is about a third of a mile long and has an average height of 100ft (varying from 80ft at one end to over 120ft at the other).

It’s looked after by the Meikleour Trust and, according to the information board nearby, “it is cut and remeasured every ten years utilizing a hydraulic platform and hand-held equipment, a complex operation which takes 4 men approximately 6 weeks”.

In the autumn the hedge can look spectacular, with leaves of red, orange and yellow. I’ve yet to get photos of that but at the end of May 2014, while it was all green and leafy, I toddled along there early one morning before there was much traffic about.

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Meikleour beech hedge looking south along the A93, Perthshire, Scotland.

 

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Meikleour beech hedge looking north.

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Meikleour beech hedge with a car for scale.

Close to the hedge is the small village of Meikleour where, as it happens, the delightful assistants once lived. I had parked there, and as I was walking back to the car several deer leapt out at me. After legging it across the road they ended up in a field. They were such delightful creatures that despite the poor quality of these photographs, I thought I’d pop them in anyway.

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42 thoughts on “The world’s biggest hedge

  1. That is something to behold..! And it’s lovely to have something lush and green to look at when all is under snow here. 🙂

  2. We made a detour to see the Meikleour hedge a few years back. Our son was having difficulties so we weren’t able to stop the car, but even just driving past it, it was pretty impressive. I must make another pilgrimage – and perhaps visit the Fortingall yew again while I’m at it… Thanks for this post!

    • I hope you get another chance to see it, and the Fortingall yew. Taking pictures of it is remarkably difficult because the best vantage point is the middle of the road. That’s why I went early in the morning ,and I should try and do that again in the autumn. If you get the opportunity to see it when it’s cloaked in fiery shades it’s worth a look.

  3. Very impressive Lorna. Next time I’m grumbling about trimming our (admittedly much smaller) hedge I’ll spare a thought for the poor chaps who have to trim that blighter.

    • Thank you, I couldn’t resist the little deer. The bottom bit of the hedge does get trimmed more frequently because, as you so rightly point out, it’s so close to the road that it could cause problems for motorists. Doing the rest of it is quite a feat.

  4. your post has made me miss Perthshire. 🙂 our family took a trip out to the hedge from where we were staying in Perth a number of years back. it is pretty magnificent and I couldn’t help but wonder how they trimmed it and kept it looking so tidy. you are fortunate to live in that part of the world. it is beautiful and I like your photos of the deer. the first picture looks like they are a mirror copy of each other.

    • Thanks, Alison, I agree with you that I’m fortunate to live here, it’s a beautiful area. Those two little deer standing next to each other are somehow very pleasing, as is the dancing one taking up the rear. As I recall, there were three in all.

  5. And I thought our back hedge was quite impressive. I won’t tell it about this one. The photos of the deer are idyllic. Happy New Year wishes too.

  6. Loving the name of this hedge & it’s history. It sounds like something lifted from a Tolkien novel indeed. I’ve always wanted to visit Scotland one day & your sweet blog reminds me of all the things I’m yet to see!!! Time to get inspired again 🙂

    • A Tolkein novel? I hadn’t thought of it like that but I see what you mean, there is something a bit otherworldly about it. I do hope you get the chance to visit Scotland one of these days – there are multitudinous scones awaiting your arrival.

  7. Incredible and beautiful….. and to think that I would never known it existed if you had not posted this. Thank you☺️.

  8. What stories that amazing hedges could tell…if only .
    I have recently moved to Wales and have always called it a mini Scotland .I don’t know if we can compete with you for your hedges …I must research lol
    Cherryx

    • That hedge must have seen a lot of change, right enough. The traffic, for one thing. I’ve only been to Wales twice, once to the north of the country as a child and then to Cardiff more recently. I’d love to see more of the beautiful countryside.

  9. Excellent photos, Lorna, some of the best I’ve seen of the Meikleour hedge – I know how hard it is to photograph! I didn’t know that’s how it was pronounced. Cutting it, as you say, must be a job and a half, particularly because of that stretch of road. I love seeing deer in the fields – that was a nice encounter you had.

    • Thanks very much, Jo. It is difficult to photograph. You really have to be standing in the middle of the road to get a decent shot, which is difficult much of the time due to the volume of traffic. Those deer were a cheering sight. Before they got into the field they leapt across the road in front of me as I was walking, which was particularly pleasing.

  10. Hi Lorna. I love the new look of your blog! It’s been a while since I’ve popped in, simply because my life has been so very busy (good – but busy). I always enjoy your posts so much, I’ll have to make a point of taking the time to read them. This hedge is nothing short of majestic – and so very beautiful. Can you imagine all the furry and winged creatures that are lucky enough to call those towering branches “home”? It must be an epicenter for wildlife. Yet another destination to add to my travel list. xo

    • Lovely to hear from you, Lucinda. It’s impossible to read everything you want to read, there simply isn’t the time, unfortunately. An excellent point about the wildlife, I imagine there will be all manner of birds and beasties enjoying the magnificence of this enormous hedge. I suppose it’s the equivalent of a grand stately home. Perhaps the wildlife that lives there offers little tours for visiting creatures. I like the idea that there might be a cafe and a gift shop hidden in amongst all that foliage.

  11. As a child I remember passing this hedge and my dad telling me it was the tallest hedge. That would have been fifty years ago! I guess it has grown a great deal since then.

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