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The first two are particularly effective barriers to livestock.
Other shrubs and trees used include holly, beech, oak, ash, and willow; the last three can become very tall. The wall at the base is a dirt parapet that varies in thickness from one to four or more feet and in height from three to twelve feet.
A hedge may consist of a single species or several, typically mixed at random.
Some hedges date from the Bronze and Iron Ages, 2000–4000 years ago, when traditional patterns of landscape became established.Trees should be left at no closer than 10 metres (33 ft) apart and the distances should vary so as to create a more natural landscape.Hedges are recognised as part of a cultural heritage and historical record and for their great value to wildlife and the landscape.Often they serve as windbreaks to improve conditions for the adjacent crops.
When clipped and maintained, hedges are also a simple form of topiary.Others were built during the Medieval field rationalisations; more originated in the industrial boom of the 18th and 19th centuries, when heaths and uplands were enclosed.