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Charles the Bald is recorded as complaining in 864, at a time when most official fortifications were constructed of wooden palisades, that some unauthorized men were constructing haies et fertés – tightly interwoven hedges of hawthorns.In parts of Britain, early hedges were destroyed to make way for the manorial open-field system.

Increasingly, they are valued too for the major role they have to play in preventing soil loss and reducing pollution, and for their potential to regulate water supply and to reduce flooding.

New trees can be established by planting but it is generally more successful to leave standard trees behind when laying hedges.

Trees should be left at no closer than 10 metres (33 ft) apart and the distances should vary so as to create a more natural landscape.

Around 20 million elm trees, most of them hedgerow trees, were felled or died through Dutch elm disease in the late 1960s.

Many other species are used, notably including beech and various nut and fruit trees.

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