|Picture Credit: “Ascott House Gardens, Buckinghamshire, UK | Traditional English flower borders with roses, nepeta and flowering geraniums in summer (22 of 22)” by ukgardenphotos is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.|
Hedges have been used in Britain for centuries to mark boundaries, provide shelter, and create a division between different areas. The use of hedges dates back to the Bronze Age, and they have played a significant role in the history and development of the British landscape.
Hedges were often used to mark the boundaries of fields and farms and to provide shelter for animals. In some areas, hedges were also used to delineate the boundaries of parishes, towns, and villages.
Traditionally, hedges were made from various plants, including hawthorn, blackthorn, and beech. These plants were chosen for their ability to grow quickly and create dense barriers. Over time, the use of hedges declined, as gradually they were replaced by fences or walls, but in recent years, there has been a renewed interest in using hedges as a way to create a natural barrier and provide habitat for wildlife.
Throughout Britain, you’ll find a variety of hedge styles. Examples are:
- Box hedges: These are made from the shrub Buxus, a popular choice for formal hedges due to its ability to be easily trimmed into shape. Box hedges are often found in formal gardens and used to create precise geometric shapes.
- Espaliered hedges: These are hedges that are made from trees or shrubs that have been trained to grow flat against a wall or fence. Espaliered hedges are often found in formal gardens, and they can be used to create a decorative boundary or to add interest to a plain wall.
Fences and hedges are common in Britain and are often used to mark boundaries or create a division between different areas. They can be made from various materials, including wood, metal, and concrete. This paper focuses on hedges that grow from trees, bushes or shrubs. Man-made fences, including those using ancient methods such as drystone, are not part of my current focus.
So, what is a hedge? A hedge is an artificially created boundary of growing plants – a line of thick, woody bushes, shrubs and trees that do not die down in winter. Countryside hedges around fields usually consist of many disparate plants, but in parks and gardens, they may be of one species only. The Anglo-Saxon word for enclosure was haeg or gehaeg, and this is where we get the word ‘hedge’. It was probably the Romans who first planted hedges in Britain although a few ancient hedges date from Saxon times, making some of them 1000 years old.
A hedge or hedgerow is a line of closely spaced shrubs and sometimes trees planted and trained to form a barrier or mark the boundary of an area, such as between neighbouring properties. Hedges used to separate a road from adjoining fields or one field from another and are of sufficient age to incorporate larger trees are known as hedgerows. Often they serve as windbreaks to improve conditions for adjacent crops, as in bocage country. When clipped and maintained, hedges are also a simple form of topiary. A hedge often operates as and is sometimes called a “live fence“, consisting of individual fence posts connected with wire or other fencing material or formed from densely planted hedges without interconnecting wire & . Some of the best-known hedges are:
- Formal hedges: These are trimmed into a precise shape, such as a straight line or a formal topiary shape. Formal hedges are often found in gardens and parks and are typically made from evergreen plants that can be easily trimmed.
- Informal hedges grow more naturally without being trimmed into a precise shape. Informal hedges are often made from a mix of deciduous and evergreen plants, and they can provide a habitat for a variety of wildlife.
- Mixed hedges: These are made from a combination of different plants, including deciduous and evergreen species. Mixed hedges are often found in rural areas and can provide a varied and attractive boundary.
- Pleached hedges: These are made from trees trained to grow horizontally, with their branches woven together to create a solid barrier. Pleached hedges are often found in formal gardens and can be trimmed into various shapes.
- Topiary hedges: These hedges are trimmed into a specific shape, such as a ball or a spiral. Topiary hedges are often found in formal gardens and are typically made from evergreen plants that can be easily trimmed into shape.
- Yew hedges: These are made from the shrub Taxus, which is a popular choice for hedges due to its ability to be trimmed into a variety of shapes and its ability to withstand heavy pruning. Yew hedges are often found in formal gardens, and they are often used to create formal boundaries or topiary shapes.
The History of Hedges
The name for someone who designs or makes hedges is a hedge layer. A hedge layer specialises in the design and construction of hedges, which can include planting and training new hedges, as well as maintaining and repairing existing ones. Hedge-laying is a skilled craft that involves the careful pruning and training of plants to create a functional and attractive boundary. Hedge layers may work in various settings, including gardens, parks, and agricultural land.
Hedge-laying has a long history, going back to ancient times and have been used for centuries to mark boundaries and provide shelter. In ancient times, hedges were often made from various plants, including hawthorn, blackthorn, and beech. These plants were chosen for their ability to grow quickly and create a dense barrier.
Britain’s Oldest Hedgerows
The first Bronze Age farmers had to clear woodland to make fields, but they sometimes left strips of woodland as boundaries. These are Britain’s oldest hedgerows, often on today’s parish boundaries. Hedges have been used as field boundaries in Britain since the times of the Romans. The Anglo-Saxons also used hedgerows extensively, and many used great estate boundaries still exist.
Ancient hedgerows, which tend to be those which support the greatest diversity of plants and animals, are generally defined as those which were in existence before the Enclosure Acts, passed mainly between 1720 and 1840 in Britain. Examples of ancient hedges in Britain are:
- The Meavy Oak hedge near Yelverton, Devon, is thought to date back to 1200 AD.
- The Shire Ditch hedge on Offa’s Dyke, marks the border between England and Wales.
- The Grim’s Ditch hedge near Thame, Oxfordshire, which is part of a prehistoric earthwork.
- The so-called Judith’s Hedge, Cambridgeshire, at over 900 years old, is the oldest known surviving hedgerow in England.
The Romans planted hedges as field boundaries, using thorn plants such as hawthorn and blackthorn. They also introduced new species to Britain, such as box, elder and sweet chestnut. Some Roman hedges still survive today, especially in areas where they built villas or forts.
The Enclosure Acts were a series of laws, passed mainly between 1720 and 1840, abolishing the open field system of agriculture and creating legal property rights to land previously held in common. The legislation aimed to increase agricultural productivity and efficiency by consolidating small strips of land into larger fields that could be fenced or hedged. The Enclosure Acts had a huge impact on the landscape, society and economy of Britain, as it displaced many small farmers and labourers who lost access to common land.
After World War II, government policy encouraged hedge removal to ensure that Britain was self-sufficient in food. Financial incentives were available to remove hedgerows, and machinery was developed that couldn’t manoeuvre in small fields. It is estimated that up to half of Britain’s hedgerows were lost in this way in the decades after the war, having a deleterious effect on wildlife, soil quality and landscape diversity.
In the past, hedge-laying was often a part of everyday life, as hedges were used to mark the boundaries of fields and farms and provide animal shelter. It was an important skill passed down through the generations, and farmers and landowners often carried out hedge-laying to maintain their boundaries and protect their land. Although the use of hedges has declined as they have often been replaced by fences or walls requiring little or no maintenance, recently there has been a renewed interest in using hedges to create a natural barrier and provide habitat for wildlife. Hedge-laying is once again becoming a more common craft.
In earlier days, trimming styles indicated clear regional differences, but the advent of the mechanical hedge cutter meant a loss of regional styles and skills. Examples of regional styles are the Devon style, the Welsh style, the Midland style, and the Cornish style.
Any Style and Purpose
Hedge styles have been used in Britain for centuries to create natural boundaries and enclosures for fields, gardens, and homes. Many different hedge styles can be found throughout the country, each with unique characteristics and history. Some of the most common hedge styles found in Britain are:
- Beech Hedge: Beech hedges are made from the leaves and branches of the beech tree. They often provide a natural boundary for gardens and parks and can be tall and dense. The beech hedge is popular for garden hedges, especially for creating formal and structured hedges. Beech is deciduous and provides a beautiful display of autumnal colours. It can be clipped into formal shapes, such as rectangles or triangles, or left to grow more naturally, providing a habitat for birds and insects.
- Belgian Fence Hedge: This hedge style is made by training trees or shrubs to grow in a crisscross pattern, often supported by a lattice or framework. The branches are pruned and tied together to create a dense, strong hedge that can be used as a boundary or as a decorative feature.
- Box Hedge: Box hedges are created using the small-leaved boxwood plant. They are often used to create intricate topiary designs in formal gardens and can be found in many stately homes throughout Britain. The box hedge is a popular choice for creating formal garden hedges due to its dense foliage and slow growth. Box can be clipped into intricate shapes and patterns, and is often used in knot gardens and parterres.
- Chestnut Hedge: Chestnut hedges are made using the branches of the sweet chestnut tree. The branches are intertwined to create a hedge that is both sturdy and visually attractive.
- Clipped Yew Hedge: The clipped yew hedge is a classic and popular choice for creating formal garden hedges. Yew is a slow-growing evergreen with dense foliage, which makes it ideal for creating tight, intricate patterns. It can be clipped into various shapes, such as cones, spheres, or pyramids, and is often used in knot gardens or parterres.
- Cloud Hedge: A cloud hedge is made by trimming the top of the hedge into a rounded, cloud-like shape. This style is often used to soften the look of a formal garden and is typically made with yew or boxwood.
- Cotoneaster Hedge: The cotoneaster hedge is an evergreen hedge with small, glossy leaves and attractive berries. It is a popular choice for creating a dense and low-maintenance hedge that provides a habitat for wildlife.
- Cotswold Hedge: This style of hedge is found in the Cotswold region of England and is made by layering stones and earth in a trench and then planting trees and shrubs on top. The resulting hedge is tall and dense and provides a good habitat for wildlife.
- Cut-Through Hedge: This style of hedge is created by cutting a rectangular or arched opening in the hedge to create a path or walkway. The cut-through can be simple or elaborate and develop a sense of discovery in a garden or outdoor space.
- Cypress Hedge: The Leyland cypress, Cupressus × leylandii, often referred to simply as leylandii, is a fast-growing coniferous evergreen tree much used in horticulture, primarily for hedges and screens. Even on sites of relatively poor culture, plants have been known to grow to heights of 15 metres (49 ft) in 16 years. It is one of the most popular types of evergreen trees to use for hedges.
- Dead Hedge: A dead hedge is a style created by stacking dead or cut branches and sticks in a line to create a barrier or habitat for wildlife.
- Deciduous Hedges: These hedges lose their leaves in winter and have a seasonal interest. Some examples of deciduous hedges are Flowering Quince, Field Maple, and Purple Beech.
- Devon Hedge: A Devon hedge is a traditional style of hedge found in the southwest of England, characterised by its use of earth banks, stone faces, and various plant species, including hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel and shrubs, trees, and climbers. Devon hedges are often found in rural areas and are designed to provide shelter and food for wildlife.
- Diamond-Shape Hedge: This hedge style is characterised by a series of diamond-shaped sections created by the angled trimming of the hedge. This style is often used to create a formal, geometric look and is typically made with small-leaved plants, such as boxwood.
- Escallonia Hedge: Escallonia hedges are made using the leaves and branches of the escallonia plant. This type of hedge is often used in coastal areas due to its salt spray tolerance.
- Espalier Hedge: An espalier hedge is a flat hedge grown against a wall or fence. The plants are trained to grow horizontally in a specific pattern, creating a formal, geometric effect. This style is often used to create a decorative feature on a wall or to provide privacy in a small urban garden. The espalier style is best known for training fruit trees against a wall.
- Evergreen Hedges: These hedges keep their leaves all year round and provide privacy and shelter. Some examples of evergreen hedges are Cypress, Boxwood, American Arborvitae, and Wax Myrtle.
- Flowering Styles: Some hedges have flowers that add colour and fragrance to the garden. Some examples of flowering hedges are Pink Ramanus Rose Hedging, English Lavender, and Star Jasmine.
- Formal Hedge: A formal hedge is characterised by clean lines and geometric shapes and is often used to define boundaries or create a structured garden. Common plants used for formal hedges include yew, box, privet, and beech, which can be clipped and shaped to create a neat, uniform look. Some examples of formal styles are Square Trimmed, Cloud, Formal Geometric, and Advanced Topiary.
- Hawthorn Hedge: Hawthorn hedges are made from the dense thorny branches of the hawthorn tree. These hedges are often used as a barrier against livestock and a natural boundary for fields and gardens.
- Hazel Hedge: Hazel hedges are created using the branches of the hazel tree. The branches are woven together to create a strong, dense hedge that can be used as a boundary or as a shelter for livestock.
- Hedge on a Bank: A hedge on a bank is a hedge that is planted on a slope or incline and is often used to stabilise soil and prevent erosion. Common plants used for hedges on banks include hawthorn, blackthorn, and dogwood.
- Hedge with Ditch: A hedge with ditch is a traditional style of hedge found in the southwest of England, used to create a boundary between fields. The hedge is planted on top of an earth bank, with a ditch on one or both sides to provide drainage and further height.
- Hedge with Stone Wall: A hedge with a stone wall is a style of hedge found in rural areas. It is created by planting a hedge on top of a dry stone wall or growing it around an existing stone wall.
- Holly Hedge: Holly hedges are made using the leaves and branches of the holly tree. They are often used as a decorative feature in gardens, and the bright red berries of the holly tree add a splash of colour to the hedge. The genus includes species of trees, shrubs, and climbers with evergreen or deciduous foliage and inconspicuous flowers. It is a genus of small, evergreen trees with smooth, glabrous, or pubescent branchlets.
- Hurdle Fence: A hurdle fence is a style of hedge created by weaving branches or saplings together to form a barrier. Common plants used for hurdle fences include willow, hazel, and ash.
- Informal Hedge: An informal hedge is less structured and more natural in appearance and is often used to create a more relaxed, naturalistic feel in a garden. Plants used for informal hedges include hawthorn, blackthorn, dogwood, and hazel, which can be allowed to grow more freely and provide a habitat for wildlife.
- Informal Mixed Hedge: The informal mixed hedge combines several different types of trees or shrubs, creating a more natural and relaxed appearance than formal hedges. Common plants used in informal mixed hedges include hawthorn, hazel, blackthorn, dogwood, and wild rose. This type of hedge is often used as a windbreak or to create a more rustic boundary in a garden and often provides more wildlife habitats and diversity. Examples of informal hedges are Escallonia, Viburnum tinus, and Hawthorn.
- Laid Hedge: This style of hedge is made by cutting a trench and laying the stems of young trees or shrubs along the trench, weaving them together and securing them with stakes. As the stems grow, they fuse together to create a dense and sturdy hedge. Plants used for laid hedges include hawthorn, blackthorn, and hazel. This style is often used to create a natural-looking boundary or to provide a habitat for wildlife.
- Laurel Hedge: The laurel hedge is an evergreen hedge that can create a dense and impenetrable boundary. The cherry laurel and the Portuguese laurel are two of the most commonly used species. Laurel hedges are relatively fast-growing and require regular maintenance to keep them looking tidy.
- Mixed Formal Hedge: This hedge style is made by combining different types of trees or shrubs with contrasting foliage colours, textures, and growth habits to create a diverse and varied hedge. Common plants used for mixed hedges include hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel, dogwood, and wild rose. This style can be used to create a striking and unique boundary or to provide a backdrop for other garden features.
- Mixed Native Hedge: A mixed native hedge is created by planting various native tree and shrub species, including hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel, and dogwood. This type of hedge is typically found in rural areas and is designed to provide a habitat for a wide range of wildlife, as well as to provide a visual screen or windbreak.
- Native Hedge: These hedges are made of plants native to Britain and support local wildlife. Some examples of native hedges are Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Hazel, and Dog Rose.
- Pleached Hedge: A pleached hedge is created by training trees or shrubs to grow into a flat plane, often along a support structure, such as a wall or fence. Hornbeam, lime, and beech are commonly used for pleached hedges, to create a formal boundary or to provide a backdrop for a garden feature.
- Privet Hedge: Privet hedges are created using the fast-growing, semi-evergreen, privet plant. They are commonly used as a boundary for gardens and can be trimmed to create formal shapes such as rectangles or spheres, and the hedge is relatively low-maintenance.
- Pyracantha Hedge: The pyracantha hedge is an evergreen hedge with sharp thorns and attractive, colourful berries that ripen in the autumn. It is a tough, resilient plant that can be trained against a wall or grown as a free-standing hedge. Pyracantha hedges are often used to create an effective security barrier, as well as to provide food and shelter for wildlife.
- Serpentine Hedge: This style of hedge is made by curving the hedge line in a serpentine pattern. This style can add visual interest to a garden or outdoor space and is often made with hawthorn, beech, or yew.
- Topiary Hedge: A topiary hedge is characterised by its sculpted shape, created by clipping and shaping plants into intricate geometric or ornamental designs and shapes, such as spirals, cones, spheres, and animals. Common plants used for topiary hedges include yew, box, and holly.
- Willow Hedge: Willow hedges are made using the flexible branches of the willow tree. They often create a natural barrier and can be woven together to create intricate patterns.
- Woven Hedge: A woven hedge is created by weaving together the branches of different trees or shrubs. This style can create a sturdy, natural-looking barrier and is often made with willow or hazel.
- Woven Hedge: A woven hedge is similar to a hurdle fence but is created by weaving the stems of a hedge. It is similar to a hurdle fence but is created by weaving the stems of a hedge. A woven hedge is a living structure made by weaving flexible branches or rods of plants, such as willow, birch, or ash, and it can be used as a fence, a boundary, or a decorative feature in the garden. The process of weaving the branches or rods of plants creates an interlocking pattern that provides a sturdy and durable structure. A woven hedge is also an eco-friendly alternative to traditional fencing materials and offers a natural and aesthetically pleasing option for gardeners and homeowners. Regular maintenance and pruning are necessary to keep the woven hedge in good shape and healthy condition. A woven hedge is also known as a fedge.
- Yew Hedge: Yew hedges are created by shaping and trimming yew trees into a dense, compact shape. These hedges can be quite tall and are often used to provide privacy and shelter from the wind.
Picture Credit: “File:Topiary Yew Hedge, Little Malvern Court – geograph.org.uk – 428274.jpg” by Bob Embleton is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
The list above provides examples of Britain’s many different hedge styles. Each style has its unique characteristics and can be used to create various effects in a garden or outdoor space. The style will depend on factors such as the purpose of the hedge, the desired look and feel, and the local environment.
Protection for Hedgehogs
Hedgehogs have a degree of legal protection in the UK because:
- They are listed on schedule 6 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981), which makes it illegal to kill or capture wild hedgehogs, with certain methods listed.
- They are also listed under the Wild Mammals Protection Act (1996), which prohibits the cruel treatment of hedgehogs.
Pollarded trees are trees, the upper branches of which are cut regularly, encouraging regrowth of dense foliage at the top of the tree. The method was developed during the medieval period to meet two essential needs: providing firewood and fodder for livestock. Pollarding was generally preferred to coppicing, where livestock was grazed as the animals could not reach the new growth. Some hedging plants suitable for pollarding include beech, hornbeam, willow and yew. Willow, ash, beech, hornbeam, lime and holly are traditionally pollarded for tree fodder, but most native trees can be pollarded. The first time a tree is pollarded, the first cut is made in winter, probably when the tree is young, usually 5-15 years old. Larger trees can also be topped and established as pollards – success depends on the age, species and level of shading. Re-pollarding can be done in winter for firewood and building materials. Cut your trees to create tree fodder in summer on a short rotation.
The Threat to Britain’s Hedgerows
Hedgerows are important to wildlife because they provide a home, shelter, food and corridors for many species of plants, animals and fungi. Hedgerows are the most widespread semi-natural habitat in the UK, supporting a large diversity of flora and fauna. One study counted 2070 species in one 85-metre stretch of a hedge. Some of the wildlife that depends on hedgerows include dormice, hedgehogs, bats, birds, butterflies, bees and moths.
As the climate crisis escalates, hedgerows are expected to become even more important as highways for wildlife as they move in response to environmental change. Their deep roots also help sequester carbon, reduce flooding, filter water and prevent soil erosion.
Threats to hedgerows include:
- Removal or destruction due to agricultural intensification, urban development, road widening or other land use changes.
- Neglect or poor management that leads to overgrowth, gaps, fragmentation or loss of diversity.
- Damage by livestock, machinery, herbicides, pesticides or fire.
- Changes in agricultural policy that reduce incentives or regulations for hedgerow protection or restoration.
The Institute of Terrestrial Ecology (ITE) survey of hedgerow changes was a national survey conducted between 1984 and 1990 that measured the extent, condition and management of hedgerows in Britain. It revealed that hedgerow length in England had declined by 20 per cent and in Wales by 25 per cent during that period. While outright removal of hedgerows accounted for 9,500km per year, almost half of the loss resulted from a lack of management. The survey also provided valuable data on hedge structure, species composition, wildlife value and historical features.
Some hedgerows are so important that they are protected by legislation under The Hedgerows Regulations 1997. These regulations apply to any hedgerow that grows in or adjacent to land used for agriculture, forestry or breeding horses. The law prohibits anyone from removing or destroying a hedgerow without first notifying and obtaining permission from the local planning authority. The authority can issue a hedgerow retention notice if the hedge meets certain criteria based on its age, length, location, historical significance or ecological value.
As previously mentioned, there are also some legal protections for hedgehogs as they are listed under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) and the Wild Mammals Protection Act (1996).
Government grants are available for landowners to encourage planting and protecting hedgerows, depending on their location, type of land use and environmental objectives. For example:
- A £500,000 Farming Hedgefund available for farmers in England to plant new hedges, hedgerow trees and gap planting.
- A Countryside Stewardship scheme that offers capital grants for planting new hedges or restoring existing ones.
Picture Credit: A stretch of newly laid traditional hedging near Middleton, Northamptonshire
Page URL: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/13/Newly_laid_hedge.jpg
Sources and Further Reading
- The Hedgerow Regulations 1997: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1997/1160/contents/made
- Trees and Woodland in the British Landscape: The Complete History of Britain’s Trees, Woods & Hedgerows, by Dr Oliver Rackham, published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson in 2020, available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Woodland-British-Landscape-Oliver-Rackham/dp/1474614043/
- A Natural History of the Hedgerow: and ditches, dykes and drystone walls, by John Wright, published by Profile Books Ltd in 2016, available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Natural-History-Hedgerow-ditches-dykes/dp/1846685532/
- The Hedgerow Handbook: Recipes, Remedies and Rituals, by Adele Nozedar (and Tom Cox, foreword), published by Square Peg in 2012, available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hedgerow-Handbook-Recipes-Remedies-Rituals/dp/0224086715/
- Hedgerows of Britain (Field Studies Council Guide), by Crane & Roberts, published by Field Studies Council Publications in 2018 in partnership with The Organic Milk Suppliers Co-operative), available at: https://www.field-studies-council.org/shop/publications/hedgerows-guide/
- Hedgerow History: Ecology, History and Landscape Character, by Gerry Barnes and Tom Williamson, published by Windgather Press Ltd in 2008, available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hedgerow-History-Ecology-Landscape-Character/dp/1905119046/
- Woods, Hedgerows & Leafy Lanes, by Richard Muir, published by The History Press [First Edition] in 2008, available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Woods-Hedges-Leafy-Lanes-Richard/dp/0752446150
- Hedgerows and Verges, by W.H. Dowdeswell, published in 1987 by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd [First Edition], available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hedgerows-Verges-W-H-Dowdeswell/dp/0045740410/
- Where to Find the Wildlife in British Woodlands & Hedgerows, by Leslie Kent, published by Lulu.com in 2013, available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Where-Wildlife-British-Woodlands-Hedgerows/dp/1291452168/
- Britain’s Hedgerows: Wildlife Corridors | The One Show, by BBC One – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9-pBxDWhJk
- How to manage hedgerows for wildlife, by Natural England, at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9X3q_KuGbc
- Secrets of Our Living Planet – Garden of Life, by BBC Earth, at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rvVc4A4raQ
- Hedgerows and the importance of Biodiversity, by National Trust, at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENHxVjYoLCE
- Hedgerow Harvest: How to Identify and Use Wild Berries, by UK Wild Adventures, at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkKj-mPm84k
- The beauty and importance of hedgerows, by Woodland Trust, at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTJrjyx8jgo
- Native Hedges (Habitat Ad), at: https://youtu.be/1rlCmBSTO24
CAUTION: This paper is compiled from the sources stated but has not been externally reviewed. Parts of this paper include information provided via artificial intelligence which, although checked by the author, is not always accurate or reliable. Neither we nor any third parties provide any warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy, timeliness, performance, completeness or suitability of the information and materials covered in this paper for any particular purpose. Such information and materials may contain inaccuracies or errors and we expressly exclude liability for any such inaccuracies or errors to the fullest extent permitted by law. Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It shall be your own responsibility to ensure that any products, services or information available through this paper meet your specific requirements and you should neither take action nor exercise inaction without taking appropriate professional advice. The hyperlinks were current at the date of publication.
End Notes and Explanations
Source: Compiled from research using information at the sources stated throughout the text, together with information provided by machine-generated artificial intelligence at: bing.com [chat] and https://chat.openai.com ↑
Bronze age, roughly 3300 to 1200 BC. ↑
Explanation: Dry stone, sometimes called drystack or, in Scotland drystane, is a building method by which structures are constructed from stones without any mortar to bind them together. Dry stone structures are stable because of their construction method, which is characterised by the presence of a load-bearing façade of carefully selected interlocking stones. Dry stone construction is best known in the context of stone walls, traditionally used for the boundaries of fields and churchyards, or as retaining walls for terracing, but dry stone sculptures, buildings, bridges, and other structures also exist. The term tends not to be used for the many historic styles which used precisely-shaped stone, but did not use mortar, for example the Greek temple and Inca architecture. The art of dry stone walling was inscribed in 2018 on the UNESCO representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity, for dry stone walls in countries such as France, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Switzerland and Spain. Some dry stone wall constructions in north-west Europe have been dated back to the Neolithic Age. In County Mayo, Ireland, an entire field system made from dry stone walls, since covered in peat, have been carbon-dated to 3800 BC. In Belize, the Mayan ruins at Lubaantun illustrate use of dry stone construction in architecture of the 8th and 9th centuries AD. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_stone ↑
Explanation: Bocage is a terrain of mixed woodland and pasture characteristic of parts of northern France, southern England, Ireland, the Netherlands and northern Germany, in regions where pastoral farming is the dominant land use. Bocage may also refer to a small forest, a decorative element of leaves, or a type of rubble-work, comparable with the English use of “rustic” in relation to garden ornamentation. In English, bocage refers to a terrain of mixed woodland and pasture, with fields and winding country lanes sunken between narrow low ridges and banks surmounted by tall thick hedgerows that break the wind but also limit visibility. It is the sort of landscape found in many parts of southern England, for example the Devon hedge and Cornish hedge. However, the term is more often found in technical than general usage in England. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bocage ↑
Sources: https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/conservation/conservation-and-sustainability/advice/conservation-land-management-advice/farm-hedges/history-of-hedgerows/ and https://ptes.org/hedgerow/a-history-of-hedgerows/ ↑
Explanations: Knot gardens were first established in England in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. A knot garden is a garden of formal design in a square frame, consisting of a variety of aromatic plants and culinary herbs including germander, marjoram, thyme, southernwood, lemon balm, hyssop, costmary, acanthus, mallow, chamomile, rosemary, Calendula, Viola and Santolina. Most knot gardens now have edges made from box (Buxus sempervirens), which is easily cut into desired shapes, like dense miniature hedges, and stays green during winters when not all of the “filling” plants are visible or attractive. The paths in between are usually laid with fine gravel. However, the original designs of knot gardens did not have the low box hedges, and knot gardens with such hedges might more accurately be called parterres (see below). Most Renaissance knot gardens were composed of square compartments. A small garden might consist of one compartment, while large gardens might contain six or eight compartments. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knot_garden
A parterre is a part of a formal garden constructed on a level substrate, consisting of symmetrical patterns, made up by plant beds, low hedges, or coloured gravels, which are separated and connected by paths. Typically, it was the part of the garden nearest the house, perhaps after a terrace. The view of it from inside the house, especially from the upper floors, was a major consideration in its design. The word “parterre” was and is used both for the whole part of the garden containing parterres and for each individual section between the “alleys”. The pattern or the borders of the beds may be marked by low, tightly pruned, evergreen hedging, and their interiors may be planted with flowers or other plants or filled with mulch or gravel. Parterres need not have any flowers at all, and the originals from the 17th and 18th centuries had far fewer than modern survivals or reconstructions. “Parterre” in Chamber’s Cyclopaedia 1743, gives a concise contemporary view. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parterre ↑