Best of British: 60 things that make Britain great

Imagine you're cut off in a far-off land. What longings would be uppermost in your mind? Here we celebrate those aspects of life that make our islands distinct and beguiling.

57. Hedgerows


There are currently more than 280,000 miles of hedges in Britain, of which 95,000 miles can be described as ancient or species rich—there’s proof that some date back to the Bronze Age; others have been formed spontaneously as well as being planted by farmers. Usually a mix of shrub and tree species, such as haw- thorn, blackthorn, hazel, ash and oak, interwoven with climbers such as travellers’ joy and honeysuckle, they provide a larder and nesting place for small mammals, insects, butterflies and bats and are a delightfully distinctive feature of our landscape.

‘There’s real life for you… The open road, the dusty highway, the heath, the common, the hedgerows’ (Mr Toad)

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