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Wu Ting
How would you explain “hanging wood” here ? The soils of this district are almost as various and diversified as the views and aspects. The high part to the south-west consists of a vast hill of chalk, rising three hundred feet above the village; and is divided into a sheep down, the high wood, and a long hanging wood called the Hanger. How would you explain “hanging wood” in the last sentence? PS: this extract is taken from The Natural History of Selborne. Thanks!And how would you explain "a sheep down", 'the high wood" in the same sentecen?
Jun 8, 2013 12:49 PM
Answers · 4
The Natural History of Selborne was written in 1789, so one must be aware that the English language used in this book is over 224 years old. The older meaning of words, and/or their meaning specific to southern England, must be taken into consideration. (1) "Down," (usually, downs) especially in southern England, refers to an open, rolling, upland country with fairly smooth slopes usually covered with grass. "Sheep down," would therefore likely mean an open grassy area with rolling slopes where sheep graze. (2) "Hanging Wood" is probably an area on a cliff covered by a growth of trees. To the observer, the trees growing off the side of a cliff would look like "hanging" trees, hence the name "Hanger." (3) "High Wood" is probably an area that is covered with tall trees. "Wood" is an area of land, smaller than a forest, that is covered with growing trees.
June 8, 2013
I am only guessing, but the Hanging Wood might be a wood on a slope, possibly coming down from the High Wood. The slope might end in an abrupt drop-off or cliff-- thus "hanging" above the flatter area below (the Sheep Down maybe?)
June 8, 2013
Hello, I believe that the "sheep down" refers to an area that is very good for sheep to graze (feed) -the grasses are rich and nutritious. The Hanging Wood, sounds like a description of a variety of trees with long, hanging branches, similar to the Willow Tree. Perhaps you could say, the Hanging Wood provided an excellent Sheep Down. Theresa
June 8, 2013
Wu Ting
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