the Bathurst hedge

12 July 1962. Britain's tallest hedge. TopFoto.co.uk

sorry about the proprietal watermark, but the hedge ladder is so interesting.  This is from TopFoto's 50 Years Ago Today: 12 July 1962.  Britain's tallest hedge undergoes its annual trim which takes three gardeners ten days to complete by hand.  Planted in 1720, it is part of the estate owned by the Earl and Countess of Bathurst in Cirencester.

2008: Britain's tallest yew hedge given a trim. The Daily Telegraph, 11 Aug 2008
The quantity-obsessed Daily Mail reported in 2008 that it is now 'the 300 year-old hedge on Lord Allen Apsley's Bathurst Estate', and that it cost £5000 to trim it.  The Telegraph, picking up the same feed, adds that 'Two workers spent two days on a 70ft high cherry-picker cutting back six inches of new growth, which produced nearly a tonne of clippings.  These are then sold to pharmaceutical companies who use yew extract as a key ingredient of Docetaxel, a chemotherapy drug used mainly for breast, ovarian and lung cancer.'

Who'd have known.

Interesting too that they used to be gardeners, part of the cost of running the estate; now they are contract workers and an invoice must be paid.