Posted: 24/01/2014 at 19:36
kay from what you describe you may have a leyllanddi hedge which is past its best.
They are never a good idea, if not tended to properly they will deteriorate.
If I were you I'd get a mini digger in and rip the lot up. To hire a man and digger isnt that expensive.
Once up Laurel is a good hedge. Cuttings are easy to take, hard and softwood cuttings will root readily.
You could also consider a hedge for wild life.
There is a thread on here for a wildlife hedge, and if I remember correctly there was a bit on the plants to choose for one.
There are suppliers of wildlife hedges, I know some on here have been planting some in the last month. Someone here will remember and point you in the right direction.