The immense clipped yew hedges are an endless source of fascination for visitors to the gardens.
The yews were planted by Maude Jeffreys (nee Oldfield) before the First World War. They are now one of the most memorable features of the gardens. ‘The yews have evolved into giant mounds like a range of cumulus clouds. They still provide structure and are beautifully maintained in all their eccentricity, yet they are ‘soft and full of character’ Dan Pearson wrote in the Telegraph Gardening Section.
Until the Second World War the yews were clipped along formal lines. During the war the yews were neglected. After the war, John Oldfield decided to maintain the intriguing amorphous shapes the yews had grown into.
The ladders used for clipping, which takes place annually in August and September are traditional cherry picking ladders. (Doddington lies in the heart of fruit growing country.) The yew hedges cover a total of one mile in length (walking both sides).