History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: A living memorial to a man who died at Culloden
The hedge was planted in 1795 by the married couple Jean Mercer and Robert Nairne on the estate of the Marquess of Lansdowne at Meikleour. Tradition says that the hedge was allowed to grow upwards because Robert Nairne went off to fight at the Battle of Culloden and was killed.
As a tribute, his wife Jean decided that the hedge should not be trimmed, and it was allowed to grow as high as nature would take it - which proved to be very high indeed! So the hedge acts as a living memorial to the man who helped plant it, and who so tragically died just a few short months later.
The hedge does require maintenance, and every 10 years it is carefully trimmed so it remains neat and tidy looking! The trimming is such a difficult job that it takes 4 men a full 6 weeks to finish the job. The men carefully measure the height and width of the trees and cut to maintain the current shape and size.
Pick your time of year to visit if you can; in spring the leaves are bright green with new growth, while in autumn they turn shades of red, yellow, and gold. The hedge is on the left side of the A93 road from Perth to Blairgowrie if you are driving north, or on the right, if you are heading south. Be watchful; it isn't signposted.
The hedge is not shown on most maps and there is no apparent signage on the site, so it is very easy to miss. In theory, there is an information panel at the northern end of the hedge, but we didn't see it. In any case, there is nowhere to park at the northern end of the hedge so it seems an absurd place to put an information panel in any case.
We drove past the hedge, looking for some indication of where it was, before we realised that we'd gone directly beside it and missed it entirely.
Here's how to make sure you don't miss it:
Two roads link the village of Meiklour to the A93; the main road from Perth to Blairgowrie. The northernmost road is the A984 or Old Military Road. The southernmost road is a lane leading to the southern end of the village. The hedge stretches from the southernmost road to the turnoff for Kinclaven, further to the south. Just before you reach the Kinclaven turnoff there is a layby on the west (northbound) side of the road.
By far the easiest way to view the hedge is to approach from the south (ie from the direction of Perth) and look for the road to Kinclaven on your left. Immediately after the signposted turnoff, you will see the layby on your left. Do not wait until you see signs for Meiklour or you will have missed the hedge!
There is a sidewalk along the base of the hedge on the west side of the road, but it is rather difficult to appreciate the height of the hedge from that side as you are almost directly underneath it. It is much easier to see from the east side of the road, but be careful; there is no sidewalk on that side of the road and the A93 is a busy highway. Take great care crossing the road.
When we visited in late September the bottom 8-10 feet of the hedge had been trimmed but the upper sections had been left alone, making for a very odd-looking overhang. Having the base trimmed meant that we could walk along underneath the overhanging branches but it did rather diminish the impact of the world's tallest beech hedge.
Most photos are available for licensing, please contact Britain Express image library.
About Meikleour Hedge
Address: Meikleour, Perth, Perthshire, Scotland
Attraction Type: Garden
Location: On the A93 near Meikleour, south of Rattray
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Opening Details: Open access site, usually accessible at any reasonable time
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Stobhall - 2.7 miles (Historic House)
Stanley Mills - 4.6 miles (Historic Building)
High Keillor Pictish Symbol Stone - 6.9 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Scone Palace - 8.2 miles (Historic House)
The Birnam Oak - 8.3 miles (Countryside)
Meigle Sculptured Stone Museum - 8.5 miles (Museum)
Little Dunkeld Church - 8.5 miles (Historic Church)
Dunkeld Cathedral - 8.9 miles (Cathedral)
Nearest Accommodation to Meikleour Hedge: