Monster of a Beech Hedge

Hello everybody!
I am the owner of an absolute monster of a beech hedge. It runs North/South between our garden and the road. Its about 15 feet high, 6-8 feet wide and runs for about 200 yards. The hedge is about 40 years old, the main trunks are 8-12 inches in diameter. Many of the individual plants are (in my completely inexpert opinion) way too close together at about 6 inch spacings some of them now grow out the ground right next to each other.
Every year trimming the hedge gets a little higher, a little more difficult, a little more dangerous, and this year I have reached breaking point!
Do i
Take the whole thing out and start again?
I've seen some advice in this excellent forum about renovating the hedge, is it do-able on such an old, huge hedge?
Thin it out and produce a line of effectively pollarded trees?
Cut it down to ground level and effectively coppice the trees, let them sprout up from ground level and regrow the hedge?
Any help gratefully received from a frazzled and rather overwhelmed gardener
--
Culp

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Culp;911421 Wrote:

Hi , sounds as though you have a wonderful old and healthy hedge , if maintenance is an issue get a tree surgeon in and reduce height to a more managable height and width maybe trim height to 6ft . Now is a good time before nesting of birds starts .
--
redruthgardener

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Culp wrote:

I don't know the growing habits of beech. You need to find out as this crowding may or may not be a problem. Also the way that the species behaves in your area is important, advice from those with other soils or climates may not be useful.

You have a resource that has taken a long time to develop. If it was me I would be looking for the best ways to make use of it and I would consider taking it out as a last resort.

So far the only problem you have described is trimming this hedge is too hard. What would happen if you didn't trim it?
Are beech hedges common in your district? What do other people do to manage them, could you ask them? Is there a local garden club or something similar that could give you clues about how the species behaves in your area and the best way to manage it?
David
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On Sat, 29 Jan 2011 18:12:12 +0000, Culp

Beech trees are wonderful as trees but are really lousy as a hedge... whoever planted them as hedge is definitely seriously retarded. I would remove them because they grow huge, if you can't relocate them too bad.
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Brooklyn1 <Gravesend1> writes:

...
I never knew, there is actually a famous beech hedge:
http://www.bonsai4me.com/AdvTech/ATBeechHedgeMeikleour.htm
1/3 of a mile long and 100 feet high.
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On Sat, 29 Jan 2011 22:06:49 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

Article says it was planted as a windbreak and it's still a windbreak... that's not a hedge regardless some witless pinhead's attempt at tongue in cheek.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hedge
a : a fence or boundary formed by a dense row of shrubs or _low_ trees I have a "hedge" on my property running along the northwest side of my house that's 400' long by ~100' tall that consists of a double row of Norway spruce... I know it was planted as a wind break and is still a windbreak but if anyone wants to call it a hedge feel free.
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