Britain’s tallest yew hedge
One 300-year-old hedge of yew (Taxus baccata) takes two men and a cherry picker a week to tidy up. Sitting alongside Lord Bathurst’s mansion near Cirencester in the Cotswolds, this
semi-circular hedge costs more than £6,000 a year to maintain. At up to 15ft (4½m) wide, 150 yards (137m) long and 40ft (12m) tall, gardeners spend some 80 man hours working on it annually.
Each year, the top 6in (15cm) of new growth is lopped off, creating a ton of clippings, which are then sold to pharmaceutical companies. Yew extract is a key ingredient of docetaxel, a chemotherapy drug used for breast, ovarian and lung cancer.