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Episode 1

Duration:
15 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 21 May 2012

Written by Hugh Barker. Read by Tim Key.

Hugh Barker, a hedge enthusiast, has journeyed across Britain to explore its remarkable variety of hedgerows.

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 neighbours. Along the way he tells how a connection between paradise and the garden hedge grew up, why the British Army planted a barrier hedge hundreds of miles long in India, and how the notorious enclosures during the Industrial Revolution turned the country upside-down.

Abridged and Produced by Jill Waters
A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

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