Meikleour Beech Hedges: World’s Largest Hedge

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The Meikleour Beech Hedge is located right besides A93 Perth-Blairgowrie road, about 18 km north of Perth and 6 km south of Blairgowrie, in Scotland. This solid wall of beech trees is 36 meters tall at its northern end and 24 meters tall at its southern end, with an average height of over 30 meters, which makes it the tallest hedge in the world, as recognized by the Guinness Book of Records. It is also longest hedge in the world - 530 meters, more than half kilometer or one third of a mile long. Despite its monumental proportion, the hedge is easy to miss because to the untrained eye it looks like a tall, well-kept row of trees.

The hedge was planted in 1745 by Robert Murray Nairne and his beloved wife Jean Mercer, on the estate of the Meikleour House, which lies half a mile to the west of the hedge and whose eastern boundary it defines. This was the year of the Jacobite Rising, a political movement in Great Britain that aimed to restore the Roman Catholic Stuart King James II and his heirs to the thrones of England.

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Nairne was a Jacobite sympathizer, and upon learning that Bonnie Prince Charlie was in Scotland, rallied to join him in the fight against the English and Scottish troops. The following year, the Jacobite uprising came to a decisive end at the Battle of Culloden where they suffered a crushing defeat. Amongst the Jacobites killed in at Culloden was Robert Murray Nairne.

Devastated by her husband’s death, his wife Jean decided to let the newly planted beech hedge grow up to heaven in memoriam of her lost husband and friends.

Meikleour House today has been turned into a rented villa, and is managed by the Meikleour Trust who also maintains the hedge. The hedge is trimmed every 10 years by a team of four men using hydraulic lift and hand-held cutting equipment, a process that takes six weeks to complete.

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Sources: Undiscovered Scotland / Nothing to See Here / Patheos

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