1 OCTOBER 1948, Page 18

Grubbed Hedges

A number of cuttings- from the correspondence to local papers has reached me, all protesting with sentimental fervour against the destruc- tion of hedges. War against hedges seems to have broken out in most districts. I must confess to feeling sentimental about the grubbing of hedges, a job that needs a deal of hard labour. The hedge is a lovely thing ; but apart from any aesthetic prejudice I must believe that it has no good substitute, especially where it is well looked after. Experts are now at work giving instruction in hedge-trimming and making in districts where the art has been neglected. Fancy Leicestershire without its " Oxers "! And that county is still, I believe, the nursery of hedge craftsmen. A well trimmed hedge has its attractions as well as the hedge that becomes almost a spinney (which pleased Wordsworth) or the rather less expansive Cambridge hedges that pleased Rupert Brooke: "Unkempt about those hedges blows An English unofficial rose."

Wire, which is the usual substitute, can as little give shelter as beauty.