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Hedge Britannia: A curious history of a British obsession

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  19 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Celebrating the history and the glory of the British hedgerow.

Hedge enthusiast Hugh Barker journeyed across Britain to explore its remarkable variety of gardens and hedgerows. He discovered how hedges are among our most ancient monuments, met hedge laying champions and topiary fanatics, and saw the lengths to which some people will go just to annoy the neighbours. Hugh exp
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 10th 2012 by Bloomsbury Publishing
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Petra X
May 05, 2015 Petra X rated it really liked it
Hedgerows still outline the shape of rural Britain, although coppicing - training trees and bushes into hedges - is becoming a very rare skill and new hedges tend to be of a single variety bush rather than a variety of trees, bushes and plants. Ancient hedgerows define history, some go back to the Enclosure Acts of the 16thC when the land surrounding villages was considered common land for farming and grazing animals. You can see where the ordinary people were dispossessed of their rights and ...more

blurb - 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 hedgelaying champions and topiary fanatics, and sees the lengths to which some people will go to annoy the neighb
A very interesting topic, though I found that occasionally Barker wandered off onto somewhat muddled philosophical tangents about the meaning of gardens and private property that may or may not have contributed to the overall trajectory of the book. That being said, he remains fairly thoughtful and evenhanded about how hedges can both be ecological mainstays and useful agricultural devices while still being symbols of inequality and a difficult history. (A note: Ireland is included in my tags ...more
I found this a highly engaging account of the role played by hedges in the landscape of Britain.

Barker covers all kinds of subjects including the history of hedges in the country, their place in formal gardens and in gardens of normal folk; their symbolism and the threats they face.

Woods and trees and the relationship with wildlife and conservation are all subjects close to my heart and I enjoyed this very much.
Sep 06, 2016 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2012
One of classic quirky books that the British do best. Part gardening book, part history, part social history and written by a slightly mad author
Very interesting history of hedges. I now look at hedges differently and understand their function.
Aug 08, 2012 Stephen rated it liked it
interesting book looking at hedges at the different types and how they have become part of the british way of life and how its a cultural and historical aspect to the hedges too and learnt a bit too
Louise rated it it was amazing
Mar 23, 2016
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Utterly ridiculous and completely delightful.
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Dec 27, 2012
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