The Garden Guide

Book: Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, 1803
Chapter: Chapter VI. Of Fences

Sheffield Place, Sussex

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At SHEFFIELD PLACE, the beautiful and long meadow in Arno's Vale is a striking example of what I have mentioned; because, if it were possible, or on the principle of economy advisable, to keep all this ground as neatly rolled and mowed as the lawn near the house, by which it would always appear as it does the first week after the hay is carried off; yet I contend, that the want of animals and animation deprives it of half its real charms; and although many beauties must be relinquished by curtailing the number of walks, yet others may be obtained, and the whole will be more easily kept with proper neatness by judicious lines of demarcation, which shall separate the grounds to be fed, from the grounds to be mown; or rather by such fences as shall, on the one hand, protect the woods from the encroachments of cattle, and, on the other, let the cattle protect the grass-land from the encroachment of woods; for such is the power of vegetation at SHEFFIELD PLACE, that every berry soon becomes a bush, and every bush a tree. From this luxuriant vegetation the natural shape of the vale is obliterated, the gently-sloping banks are covered with wood, and the narrow glade in the bottom is choked with spreading larches. It is impossible to describe by words, and without a map, how this line of demarcation should be effected; but I am sure many acres might be given to cattle, and the scenery be improved, not only by such moving objects, but also by their use in cropping those vagrant branches which no art could watch with sufficient care and attention. It is to such accidental browsing of cattle that we are indebted for those magical effects of light and shade in forest scenery, which art in vain endeavours to imitate in pleasure-grounds. [Sheffield Place is now called Sheffield Park]