The Garden Guide

Book: Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1816
Chapter: Fragment Xxxi. Of Water Fences.

Cattle animate water

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In the stiff clay soil of Essex, there is great objection to admitting cattle to tread down, or poach, the margin of a piece of water so near and immediately opposite to the windows; yet, to exclude them entirely from the pool, would be to rob the water of the most interesting features of which such a pool is capable, viz. the reflection of moving objects on its banks, and the glitter of its surface when put in motion. Add to this, if cattle can be kept from browsing the boughs which overhang the water, there is nothing more interesting than the contrast made by dark foliage reflected and opposed to those parts of the margin which reflect only the sky. An attempt is made, in the annexed plates [figs. 237 and 238], to represent this effect, which also shews the present appearance of the pool, where no objects are reflected except the sky and the line of hurdles [fig. 237]. To realize this landscape, it is proposed to fence the opposite bank of the pool by such a line of paling as may sweep round the thickets of thorns, and alders, and brushwood, by which they will be concealed, and then a post and chain should sweep into the pool, just below the surface of the water, admitting cattle to stand on a bank, which should be gravelled, or paved, to prevent their sinking into the soil, and discolouring the water.