'Be honest' Matt Baker probes keeper of UK's biggest yew maze – how to maintain hedges

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A recent episode of Countryfile was shown on BBC Two this morning, and in it, Matt Baker and Ellie Harrison explored Cranborne Chase in south-east England. Matt met with Longleat Estate’s head gardener, Jules Curtis, to find out how he maintains the hedges of Britain’s longest maze.

The head gardener said: “We come in with four or five of us at a time in the autumn once it’s done all its growing.

“We come in and cut the hedge and we sort of work through the sections because we’d soon get lost otherwise.”

Jules went on to explain that it usually takes a “few weeks” a year to cut the hedges.

“It takes quite a few weeks because obviously it’s not all day long, but we’ll be, you know, [doing it for] seven to eight weeks in the mornings.”

Jules said: “Even with people coming in and out, there’s still quite a lot of wildlife.

“We’ve still got a lot of nesting birds.”

The head gardener mentioned that the bird species found in the hedges include robins and blackbirds, among others.

Planting hedges in your garden at home is a good idea to attract more wildlife, especially as bird species in the UK are currently dwindling due to the destruction of their habitats.

To finish his visit at Longleat, Matt asked Jules: “Be honest with me, do you still get lost?”

“Uh, yes. There’s still some bits of it [the maze] where you think, uh, is it that one or that one?” the head gardener admitted.



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