Wibbly wobbly hedges at Montacute House

Storm clouds gathering over Cedar Lawn at Montacute House

When you look up at the house, it is very much symmetrical and with its clean lines, and then you step through onto cedar lawn, and the world has suddenly gone wibbly wobbly.

We believe that the hedges are about 150 years old. Until 1947 they were a similar height and depth but straight, without all the lumps and bumps you see today. During the harsh winter of 1947, heavy snow remained for weeks, if not months, causing the flat tops of the hedges to collapse under the weight.

This often happens but the snow usually disappears quickly and the hedges bounce back to their original shape. However, by the spring of 1948 the snow had made such an impact that the hedges did not bounce back. Over time the collapsed hedges became lovingly known as ‘wibbly wobbly’.

Hedge Management

The hedges are English yew and we start cutting them in August each year. The job normally takes about three months because there is over a mile of hedging that needs a trim.

By cutting the hedges in August we can be sure that the plants have finished growing for the season, which leaves them crisp and clean for the winter and the next season before they become hairy again.

The wibbly wobbly hedges take two people ten days to complete and we use electric hedgecutters, platform scaffolding and a cherry picker to reach the tops.