button to main menu   West's Guide to the Lakes, 1778/1821

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Page 289:-
may now and then please from variety; but in general they come so forward to the eye, and at a good distance in winter so much resemble yew, holly, and the like gloomy and barren looking trees, that they do a real injury to the soft and pleasing tints, which result from the native stems, and which, from use, best accord with the idea of thriving woodlands.
For these reasons, Scotch firs look best when they are seen in large horizontal plantations, on low (or at least not high) ground; when the front only is exposed to sight (hence their depth backward imagined very great) and when the blue vapours of an extended horizon are seen over their tops: in this case they have a very grand effect, and form a fine dark contrast to the pale and distinct features of the overlooking hills.
Those circular groups of trees called clumps, are oftener seen than worthy of praise. They appear to have the best effect (if they must be used) for near views, or when they are found in the middle of a level open vale of fine lawn or meadow; but on the sides of distant hills or mountains (where they are seen all round) their appearance is truly paltry. The more smooth and large these eminences are, the more improper this species of ornament becomes; and, in short, I apprehend that the features of a lady's face would scarcely be more injured by the mark of her thimble, than the features of several hills would be by these unnatural circles. At the same time, however, that we censure this mode of decorating mountains, it may be proper to observe, that if they be wholly covered with wood, or lightly interspersed with single trees, the effect will be natural and pleasing.
But the most absurd decoration of these eminences in vogue, is a few trees planted on their top, so that the whole boles of the foremost ranks may be seen, down to their very roots. Trees, we know, are chiefly the produce of the lower parts of the earth's surface; and to see the roots of some above the heads of others, as it were, tier above tier, is not
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