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The HOP CULTURE,-tho not wholely confined to this quarter of the island,-is principally carried on within it. The Hop grounds of Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire are of inconsiderable extent, compared with those of Kent and Surrey. IRRIGATION. The practice of watering low-lying meadow grounds, with calcareous water, belongs, almost exclusively, to this Department.

HAY FARMS;-Farms consisting solely of mowing grounds, may be said to be peculiar to the Southern Department.

Ewe flocks kept for the purpose of producing HOUSE LAMB; and herds of cows solely for that of furnishing the London markets with VEAL;-occupy no inconsiderable part of the lands, within fifteen or twenty miles of the metropolis;-whose markets draw various other articles of FARM PRODUCE, in a summary way, to that attractive center:thus giving, to a still greater extent, a peculiarity of character to the rural profession.

MY OWN KNOWLEDGE of this Department of the island may be said to be universal. There is scarcely a square mile of its surface which I have not seen; nor a district of it that I have not examined.*

The REPORTS to the BOARD OF AGRICULTURE, from this Department, that require to be appreciated, and the useful information they may contain to be extracted and brought together, in this CONCENTRATION OF PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE, are these:

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It may be proper to mention, in this place, that, in re

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*See my Register of the RURAL ECONOMY of the SOUTHERN COUNTIES. Also MINUTES of AGRICULTURE, in Surrey.

viewing those several works, the requisite labor will be less than that which has been bestowed on the former volumes of this undertaking. There are few writers of high consideration, in agriculture, whose sentiments and dictations will, I conceive, be liable to warp the minds of practical men, or to lead the novitial amateur, or the unpractised student, into the labyrinths of error:-saving those, I mean, whose erroneous opinions, and dangerous maxims of management, have already been brought out, and held up to public view; and some of them, I trust, placed in a light sufficiently clear, to render them inoffensive.

The line of proceeding, in the present case, will be to examine, with unremitted attention and perseverance, the several Works, as they pass in Review; and to arrest every idea, whether practical or theoretical, which shall strike me as being capable of adding to the accumulation of valuable materials that I have already drawn together.

But while performing this task, it is my intention to avoid noticing the errors and incongruities which they may contain; excepting in such flagrant cases as I may judge to be altogether unfriendly to the progressive rise of Rural Science.

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HERTFORDSHIRE.

HERTFORDSHIRE;

WITH THE RANGE OF CHALK HILLS WHICH FORM THE MOST NORTHERN BOUNDARY OF THE DEPARTMENT THAT IS NOW COMING UNDER VIEW.

THE COUNTY OF HERTFORD covers much of those calca

rious grounds, which extend, in a southwesterly direction, from the northwest point of Essex, through parts of Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire, to the southeast point of Berkshire.

In Hertfordshire, the chalk rarely rises to the surface; being principally buried under soils and substrata of different qualities and depths:-a circumstance, this, which belongs more or less to almost the entire range: thus giving character to a peculiar species or variety of ENGLISH TERRITORY.-The other chalk hills of the kingdom mostly rise, abruptly, above the adjacent noncalcareous lands;calcareous soils being exposed on the surface; as they are toward the two extremes of the range now under notice.

This NATURAL DISTRICT, "one and indivisible," is unfortunately allotted among the seven Counties above named; and is, of course, more or less noticed,-in fourteen Reports to the Board!

In the Reports from three of those Counties, principally situated within the Midland Department,-namely Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Bedfordshire,-I found some useful information relating to the natural district now in view, and the extracts I took from them may be considered as prefatory to that which the Hertfordshire Reports may furnish.

THE SOUTHERN MARGIN OF HERTFORDSHIRE combinés with the upper grounds of the County of Middlesex; there being no natural, nor agricultural, line of distinction between them.

"GENERAL

"GENERAL VIEW

OF THE

AGRICULTURE

OF THE

COUNTY OF HERTFORD,

WITH

OBSERVATIONS ON THE MEANS OF ITS IMPROVEMENT.

By D. WALKER,

NO. 14, UPPER MARY BONE STREET.

DRAWN UP FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF

The Board of Agriculture and Internal Improvement.

1795."

THIS is the "original Report," on quarto paper, from

that County. It has not, consequently, been published.

Judging from the matter and manner of this sketch Report, Mr. Walker is a professional man of superior intelligence in many particulars relating to rural concerns. His QUALIFICATIONS, therefore, as a Reporter of rural information, are admissibly good; and had he appropriated sufficient length of time to a survey of the County, and paid due attention to the revision and digestion of the materials collected, he would, I doubt not, have been able to send up to the Board of Agriculture a satisfactory Report of its practices.

The performance before me, however, bears no evidence of such a proceeding having taken place. The topics touched upon are few, and the information concerning them is mostly general. A very small portion of the few pages which constitute the Work, relate, especially, to "the County of Hertford;"-excepting some valuable observations on soils and manures.

The dissertations are in general superior, in their manner, to the flippant and futile remarks that are found in most of the productions with which the shelves of Agriculture have

B 3

have been loaded during the last half century. They elicit, however, little that is new. They are frequently commonplace, observations, which apply not, particularly, to the established practice of the County under Report.

Some instances of individual practice are noticed; tho seldom in a way that entitles them to a place, here. On the established practice of the County, in regard to the OPERATIONS of AGRICULTURE, scarcely any thing worthy of notice appears.

The number of pages eightysix. No map or other engraving. Yet, in the letterpress, the plan of a farmyard is referred to.

NATURAL ECONOMY.

SURFA

URFACE.-P. 9. "The uneven surface of the county, varied through its whole extent with hill and dale, affords natural drainage, and all the various aspects under heaven."

WATERS.--P. 7. "The principal rivers are the Lea and the Colne; and these are composed of many inferior streams, most of whose sources lie within, the county, and join the principal rivers at different distances from their source."

SOILS.-P. 10. "The prevailing soil is a strong, red, shelvy clay, intimately mixed with flints covering chalk, generally of an excellent quality, which lies at different depths from the surface, and points out to the husbandman a never-failing and unrivalled source of improvement."

"The remaining soils consist of the various gradations of loam from the strongest to the weakest kind, more or less intermixed with gravel, principally of the flinty sort, and with chalk, which (though there are exceptions to this general rule), may be said every where to obtain, and no where to predominate: a small portion of moor, or peat earth, in the beds of some of the rivers and low meadows adjoining thereto, the quantity and depth of which has not yet been ascertained, nor, as far as I have been able to learn, converted in any one instance to the valuable purposes for which it is adapted: and a soil widely differing from all the rest, very fortunately of no great extent, and confined to one corner of the county, consisting of a hungry clay or loam, full of small blue pebbles, and only fit for the growth of underwood.

"These soils (the two last excepted) have been indiscriminately scattered by the band of sportive nature all over the face of the county; and frequently, very frequently,

they

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