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depth for cultivation. Though the Forest of Dartmoor, as its name implies, and tradition corroborates, was once stocked with trees, the only remaining natural wood it now contains, is an assemblage of dwarf scrubby oaks, intermixed with a few trees of mountain ash, willows, &c. This wood is on the western slope of a hill, about eleven miles from Moreton, between CrockeruTor, and that branch of the river Dart which passes the newlycrected inn at Two Bridges. It grows amidst a number of loose blocks of granite, which have been fantastically wreathed by the roots of the trees, as they have crept over and between them in search of nourishment.
The Vale of Exeter differs widely in appearance from Dartmoor; though in some parts, particularly between Tiverton and Exeter, and the latter place and Collumpton, it has an irregular billowy surface, and presents eminences of considerable magnitude; but the central and more southern parts preserve the vale character. The area of this district contains about 200 square miles : its boundaries on the north, are the hills that range from Clanaborough, by Halberton, and Uffculm, to Black down ; a dreary mountainous ridge, which, with its contiguous branches, skirts the eastern side of the vale: on the south-east it is bounded by the heights of Sidmouth-hill, East-down, and Woodbury; and on the west, by the mountainous tract of Haldon, and the undulating eminences that stretch towards Bow.
The soils in this district vary exceedingly; but the most prevalent are strong red loam, shillet, or foliated clay, intersected with numerous veins of iron-stone, and a mixture of sand and gravel. Of these, the loam, from the closeness of its texture, is the most fertile: the shillet requires frequent showers to prevent its being parched. Wheat, barley, beans, and pease, are the most general productions of the arable lands; fax is also cultivated, but in no great quantity. The pasture lands are chiefly appropriated to supply the dairy; but in some parts considerable attention is given to the breeding of sheep and cattle. The produce of the dairy is butter and skim-milk cheese. It seems probable that this district was carly cultivated, as the appropriated lands are universally inclosed,
and the inclosures in general small, and well furnished with hedgerow timber. Many pollard oaks are found among the elms; and in various places oak timber trees, with a profusion of coppice wood growing between them.
Most of the farms and villages are interspersed with numerous apple-trees. The cottages of the peasantry are chiefly constructed of red earth mixed with straw, commonly called cobb, and covered with reeds: when rough cast, and kept dry, these kind of buildings are very durable: the walls are generally from fourteen inches to two feet in thickness.
The district called the South-Hams, is frequently termed the Garden of Devonshire, from its fertility. Its natural boundaries are Dartmoor, and the heights of Chudleigh, on the north ; Plymouth Sound, on the west ; Torbay, on the east; and on its southern point, the English Channel. Its area, including the rich valley of the Dart, which extends towards Ashburton, includes nearly 250 square miles. This tract is strikingly diversified by bold swells, winding coombs, and fine vales; and in many parts, particularly towards the north, the scenery is picturesque, and highly romantic. Numerous springs flow from the sides of the hills, and uniting into brooks and rivulets, spread luxuriance and beauty through a considerable extent of country.
The upper grounds of the South-Hams are appropriated alternately to pasture and to tillage; the lower grounds are chiefly cultivated as meadows. The principal kind of soil is a strong red loam, with a sub-stratum of clay. The common crops on the arable lands, are wheat, barley, oats, turnips, and potatoes: the average produce of wheat has been estimated at twenty-five bushels, and of barley at thirty-five, per acre.
Great quantities of cyder are made in this district, as well as in the Vale of Exeter; and as almost every farm has its orchard, the general produce affords a considerable surplus for exportation, even after large deductions have been made for home consumption. Preference is generally given to those apples which are most juicy, yet they are seldom sorted: the red-streak is the species considered as most productive. The sweet cyder is chiefly made in the vicinity of Staverton, but of the same kind of fruit as the
rough: rough: the sweet taste arises from its being often racked, which checks the fermentation. The cyder made in the neighbourhood of Exeter, Chudleigh, Newton-Bushel, Peignton, Totness, and some contiguous places, is deemed of superior flavour.
A considerable quantity of butter is made in this district; the method by which the cream is produced is almost peculiar to Devonshire: it is raised by heating the milk in earthen or brass pans, and is then worked into butter by the hand of the dairymaid, who turns it all one way in a bowl, or tub, without the assistance of the churn. After the cream is taken off, the scalded milk is made into an inferior kind of cheese, principally for home use. The average produce of butter from each cow, is about one pound daily. Cattle and sheep are bred and fattened here in great numbers.
All the lands of this district, with the exception of a few small plots, are in a state of permanent inclosure. The fences are chiefly high mounds, surmounted by coppice wood; which not only affords a sufficient supply of fuel for the occupiers of the estates, but also a surplus of poles, cord-wood, faggots, and oakbark, for sale. “ This kind of product is regarded as a crop of some value, in addition to its utility as a fence, as it affords to the pasturing animals excellent shelter from wind and sun, with but moderate care and expence in repairing. These hedges are better adapted to the hilly surface of Devon, than to more level countries; commonly forming, all together, a barrier thirty feet high, which so softens the rigour of unfriendly blasts, that most of the inferior swells are cultivated to the very summits. A stranger, unaware of this practice, considers himself as travelling in deep hollow ways for miles, till arrived at some elevated opening, he is charmed with the delightful scenery of the fertile country he has passed."* The houses are in general firm and good; stone, lime, and slate, being abundant.
The natural boundaries of the district named Il'est-Devonshire, are, on the east, the Dartmoor Mountains; on the south, Plymouth
• History of Exeter, p. 136.
Sound, and its several estuaries; the river Tamar on the west; and on the north, Brent Tor, and the adjacent heaths. The surface is extremely diversified; not only from the number, narrowness, and depth of the larger vallies, whose sides generally rise with a steep ascent from the banks of the streams that divide them, but likewise from the hills, or wide spaces which extend between the vallies, being rent and broken in a very peculiar manner.
No part of the district can be strictly called vale; and the level meadows and marsh lands are but of very inconsiderable extent.
It is observed by Mr. Marshall, that the surface soil of West Devon is remarkably uniform, and singular in its component par " It does not class properly with any of the ordinary description of soils, namely, clay, loam, sand, or gravel; but is rather of a silty nature. Perhaps the principal part of the soil of the district is perished slate-stone rubble, or slate-stone itself, reduced by the action of the atmosphere to its original silt, or mud; among which, however, a portion of loamy mould is mixed, in various degrees of quantity: hence, though the species of soil may be regarded as the same, the quality varies, and in some instances very greatly."* The prevailing sub-stratum is a soft slaty rock, which in some places rises to the surface; but in others, a stratum of rubble intervenes.
Nearly two thirds of the inclosed lands of this district are employed alternately in the cultivation of grasses, and raising of corn; the remainder is either in tillage, or occupied by orchard grounds. The dells and narrow vallies produce considerable quantities of wood, which grows also in abundance on the rugged sides of the hills, and on the elevated fence mounds, which form a distinguishing feature in the rural management of this county. In the grass lands, red clover and rye-grass are principally cultivated; but white clover, and trefoil, only occasionally. The system of artificially watering meadow lands has been practised here time imme. morially, but the general mode is defective; as the water is neither spread equally over the surface, nor judiciously drained from the soil afterwards. The course of practice generally pursued in the
Rural Economy of the West of England, Vol. I. p. 14.
cultivated lands of this district is this: pasture, partial fallow, or beat-burning, wheat, barley, oats, grasses; and sometimes potatoes and turnips. The practice of beat-burning has occasioned considerable discussion among agriculturists as to its real utility; and writers have not been wanting, who have asserted it as altogether detrimental. When this operation was introduced is unknown; but so general was its adoption here, that the practice, in an old tract in the British Museum, is called Devonshiring; and it is still termed Denshiring in different parts of the county. In this process, Mr. Marshall observes, “ there are three distinct methods of separating the sward, or sod, provincially the spine, from the soil. The one is performed with a beating-nre, namely, 'a large adze, some five or six inches wide, and ten or twelve inches long, crooked, and somewhat hollow, or dishing. With this, which was probably the original instrument employed in the operation, large chips, shavings, or sods, are struck off. In using it, the workman appears to the eye of a stranger, at some distance, to be beating the surface as with a beetle, rather than to be chipping of the sward with an edge-tool: this operation is termed hand-beating. The next instrument in use is the spade, resembling the paring spade or breast-plough of other districts, with, in some instances, the addition of a mould-board, fixed in such a manner as to turn the sod, or turf, as a plow turns the furrow slices. In working with this tool, the laborer proceeds without stopping to divide the sods into short lengths; this part being done by women and children, who follow to break the turf into lengths, and set the pieces on end to dry. The instrument at present used to separate the spine, or grassy turf, from the soil, by farmers in general, is the common team-plough, with some little alteration in the forin and size of the share, there being two different ways of performing the operation, respectively termed velling, and skirting. For velling, the share is made wide, with the angle, or outer point of the wing, or fin, turned upward, to separate the turf entirely from the soil: for skirting, the common share is used; but made, perhaps, somewhat wider than when it is used in the ordinary operation of ploughing. In the latter mode of using the plough, little more than half