Meikleour beech hedge

The longest hedge in Britain and the highest of its kind in the world grows near the old conservation village of Meikleour. It’s one-third of a mile (530 metres) long and on average about 100 feet (30 metres) high.

The hedge was planted in autumn 1745 by Robert and Jean Nairne of nearby Meikleour House, forming the eastern border of the property. Jean Nairne was heir to the estates of Aldie and Meikleour. The following year Robert enlisted with the Jacobite army during the Jacobite uprising and was killed at the Battle of Culloden early in 1746. His wife fled to Edinburgh, leaving the hedge to grow as a living memorial to her husband.

The hedge is usually trimmed and re-measured every 10 years. This task occupies four workers for six weeks using a hydraulic lift and hand-held cutters.

Beech is deciduous, not evergreen. In spring its fresh leaves are bright yellow-green, darkening in summer. During autumn they turn gold and then russet brown, some foliage clinging to the branches through the winter, dropping in spring.

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