Page images

of the Erme, which is there a mountain torrent. The course of all these rivers is south-west, and each has a considerable Estuary. The DART is the principal of all those rivers that are produced by the rocky range of Dartmoor, in the centre of this county, which in wildness at least, though not in height or extent, may emulate most of the mountainous tracts of Wales or Scotland. Rapidity is the. Dart's first characteristic, which it retains till it descends into the rich plains of the southern part of the county. At Totness the Dart is crossed by its last bridge, and soon afterwards receives the tide; the noble ruin of Berry Pomeroy Castle occupies an eminence on the east; it then runs by Kings Weare and Dartmouth, the ivied walls of whose Castle and its rustic Spire, starting out from beneath a rocky hill, mark the exit of the Dart towards the sea. The Ex rises in the wild hills of Ex-Moor, in the western corner of Somersetshire, runs to Tiverton, just below which it receives the small river Loman, and soon afterwards the Creedy and the Culm, keeping on its course to EXETER; from whence it forms a grand Estuary to Exmouth, where it meets the sea. The OTTER (noted for the numbers of that amphibious animal,) is also remarkable for its Trout and Salmonpeal; the former having a peculiarly rich flavour, and the latter being very large and firm: the SYD, and the AXE, each of them rises near the border of Somersetshire. The TEIGN takes its rise in Dartmoor, near the village of Chegford, and, after forming a broad but short Estuary, by the junction of its two branches, terminates in the bay of Teign

mouth. The TAW and the TORRIDGE contribute to form the great bay of Barnstaple and Biddeford, on the broad part of the Bristol Channel, opposed to Tenby, in Pembrokeshire. The Taw has its source in the central mountains of Dartmoor, and is increased by the Moule from South Moncton to Barnstaple; from whence it turns westward to meet the Torridge, which rises close to the head of the Tamar, near the border of the northern part of Cornwall: this river, after receiving the Okement, runs due north to BIDDEFORD*, and, after its junction with the Taw, both streams incline to the north-west to find their mouth, where the Bristol Channel loses itself in the open sea. All these rivers abound with

*The Bridge here, says Dr. CRUWYS, has the following singularity attached to it. "The Tide flows so rapidly, that this Bridge cannot be repaired by Mortar. The Corporation, therefore, keep boats in employ to bring Muscles to it, and the Interstices of the Bridge are filled by hand with these Muscles. It is supported from being driven away by the Tide entirely by the strong threads these Muscles fix to the stone-work; and by an Act or Grant it is a Crime, liable to Transportation, for any person to remove these Muscles, unless in the presence, and by the consent, of the Corporative Trustees." A similar instance of the adhesive quality in Muscles was noticed at CALAIS, by a Gentleman, in 1777; in his Walks upon the Pier he remarked that all the Piles and Timbers of every description were covered with Myriads of diminutive black spots. These increased in size daily, and, by degrees, eclipsed the appearance of the Wood: he found them to be Muscles, and that they spread to a prodigious extent, keeping their hold so tenaciously that even severe Gales, in one of which a Vessel was driven ashore, did not in the least disturb them. This continued until the latter end of August, when the whole of the Mouth of the Harbour and all the passages to the outer Fortification were perfectly a mass of Muscles.

Salmon, (which, although very fat, are not so large as in the North of England,), Trout, and contain such quantities of excellent other fish as to afford the Angler uncommon amusement.


THE CHARR, the EYPE, and the WEY, are the three rivers of this county, bordering upon Devonshire. They all descend from the Dorsetshire Downs; the former makes its exit at Charmouth, on the great western road; the Eype, joined by the Brit from Beminster, and another stream westward of it, falls into the sea in Bridport harbour, a few miles below that town. The Wey is now celebrated for its sea-bathing place, formed by the combined towns of Melcombe Regis and Weymouth, which grace the exit of the Wey to the sea; the grand semicircular beach, and its level sands, (advantages for bathing,) added to the preference given to it by the Royal family, have raised Weymouth into high consideration.

The STOURE finds its source in six streams at Stourton, in Wiltshire, three of which are in the park of Stourhead: winding through Gillingham Forest, round the hill on which Shaftesbury stands exalted, it runs to Sturminster; afterwards pursues nearly a south-east direction aslant the eastern division of Dorsetshire, joined by the Allen from the north at Winborn to Christchurch, in Hampshire, where meeting the Avon of that county, after being a little increased by the Blackwater from Cran

bourn, both fall into the sea opposite to the Isle of Wight.

The FROOME, which may be called the most considerable river in this county, rises in that vast tract of Downs which divides it from Somersetshire; its two channels unite at Maiden Newton, and flows to Dorchester, fed by the various streams from the South Downs; it meets the Piddle from the north, then turns eastward to reach Wareham, and forms the great expanse of water constituting Poole Har


The Stoure is peculiar not only for the large quantities, but the goodness and delicious flavour, of its Tench and Eels: there are Trout, good Pike, Perch, and other fish, in these rivers; and in Mr. BROWN'S water, four or five miles above Dorchester, the Trout are extremely plentiful.


THE TEES rises in that part of Cumberland called Stanemore; the mountains from which the Tees derives its origin are gigantic, and Teesdale presents a long winding fertile stripe, surrounded by some of the wildest districts in the kingdom. The Tees is crossed often; and at Barnard Castle (which it almost encircles) by an extraordinary foot bridge suspended by iron chains: below Rokeby Park it receives the Greta from Yorkshire, and another small stream from the Durham Moors, and forms a fine feature in the territory which surrounds Raby Castle. The Tees still preserves its rapid character, as it

divides this county from Yorkshire, presenting a striking object from whichever side it is viewed. At Stockton this river is affected by the tide, admits ships of considerable burden, and soon loses itself in the sea. The Tees possesses few fish except Salmon, the stream is so very rapid and even furious in winter, and in summer is often almost dry: in its deep pits are some Trout.

The WEARE finds its source in the same wild range of Moors as the Tees, but considerably to the north of that river. The Weare may be called a miniature of the Tees, much resembling it in character; and Wearedale (like Teesdale) is a very wild district: emerging from hence, the Weare flows below the Park of Bishops Auckland, where it receives the Gaunless, and observes its winding course in deep dales till arrested by the circular hill crowned by the Cathedral and Castle of Durham, whose walls overhang this river from the summit of a perpendicular rock; the wooded banks of the Weare exhibit much romantic scenery about Cocken, and its exit to the sea, near the crowded port of Sunderland, is graced with an iron-bridge, matchless in its design and architecture, beneath which vessels may pass in full sail. It consists of a single arch, which spans two hundred and thirty-six feet, and rises at its centre one hundred feet above high water mark.

The TYNE will be noticed in the county of Northumberland; besides the above are the Derwent, Laden-hude, Bander, Lune, and Skern; the former has a short course from its rise in the Durham



« PreviousContinue »