The Oldie is sad to hear of the death of Max Hooper at the age of 82. Hooper was the naturalist who wrote the hedgerow classic Hedges in 1974.
But his really great gift to the world was Hooper's Rule, which he calculated in 1965. The rule magically and simply dates a hedge: its age is equal to the number of woody plant species counted in a thirty-yard stretch of hedge, multiplied by 110.
Hooper didn't just date hedges; he saved them. In the 1960s, he worked out that 10,000 miles of British hedgerow were being grubbed up every year; his exposure of this shocking figure helped to slow down their gradual disappearance.
Oldie readers who see Elisabeth Luard's wonderful monthly blog on hedgerow plants will know quite what treasures our hedgerows are. God bless Max Hooper for helping to save them.
HARRY MOUNT, @mounth.