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Hedges and Hedgerow Trees in Britain: A Thousand Years of Agroforestry

Research reports

Condensing two chapters of the author's book "The History of the Countryside", this paper charted the history of hedges and non-woodland trees in Britain since prehistoric times, with the intention of stimulating similar interest in other countries. Some British hedges were planted while others have sprung up naturally along boundaries marked with fences or rocks. Older hedges are generally more species rich. Also, the species composition of trees in fields and along hedgerows differs from woodlands. The author argued that the attempt to regenerate hedges and free-standing trees through planting was mistaken; history shows that nurturing of existing saplings is a better approach.

Oliver Rackham