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« HIGHWAYS AND BYEWAYS." [TO THE EDITOR OF THE MERLIN AND SILURIAN.] SIB,-As an old traveller, I hope you will allow me to make a few remarks upon a subject which is not alto- gether unworthy of attention. I allude to the wanton and grievous destruction of wood which has been and is ever going on in this district, once so celebrated as con- taining the finest woods and the most splendid speci- mens of trees in the whole of Great Britain. It is now more than thirty years since I recollect admiring the well-clothed knolls, the wooded hills, the umbrageous dells, and the verdant hedges of Gwent-land. But, alas! what a change has come over the aspect of this once beautiful country there is hardly a timber tree left uncut from Newport to Abergavenny, except in the grounds of one or two neighbouring gentlemen, and those at a distance of many miles. The same extermi- nating principle has been applied to the coppice woods not content with the septennial cutting, they have been rooted up and destroyed wholesale; and even the hedges are now diverted from their natural use, and are no longer a high barrier affording shelter from the piercing winds and drifting snows of winter, and screens for the weary traveller from the oppressive heat of the sun, when pursuing his journey along a dusty road. For- merly standard trees were carefully preserved in hedge- rows, and, indeed, were planted at regular distances when not of natural growth; and this was done not merely for ornament, but for use as the trimming off the lower boughs, when they overhung the turnpike road, produced a very valuable supply of material for repairing dead hedges. It is a complete mistake to suppose that roads are benefitted by keeping hedges low; the only injury a road can sustain is when the boughs on the roadside of the hedge are allowed to pro- trude as far over the way as to prevent vehicles from keeping close to the side without inconvenience when passing other carriages. Hedges should therefore be kept neatly clipped by the road-side, but not cut down in height, in the absurd manner they now are. It is painful in these days to observe the ignorant and reck- less way in which hedges are now hacked and hewed almost every month of the year in January, the poor naked white-thorns and black-thorns (though leafless) are not always safe from mutilation and when full of sap in early spring or in the full luxuriance of summer, the knife or the hacker is always at work, and a foreigner might well exclaim — Where are the I May blossoms' and the flowery hedgerows' of which I have heard so much ?" for standard thorns are now very scarce, and no twig seems to be allowed to live in a hedge long enough to bear a blossom. Extremes are very dangerous, and the spirit of improvement which was once beneficial and commendable in promoting pro- per attention to reducing inconvenient luxuriance, has now become a mania for destruction. Hedges are de- prived of the very appearance of a hedge; they are scarcely high enough to prevent a pig from leaping over them, and instead of the tops being left high and thin, by which means snow cannot rest upon the sprays, they are cut down and made as flat and as thick as if it was in- tended to travel upon the hedges instead of upon the road; the consequence of which is, that the snow and frost has greatpower upon the already exhausted bushes, which having been first bled to exhaustion by cutting, are afterwards frozen to extinction, and, in fact, many of the hedgerow bushes are actually killed by this treat- ment, and at best, all lose their strength and luxuriance and partially wither away. I will not longer trespass upon your attention on the present occasion, than to say that should this letter meet with attention, I shall have much pleasnre in adding a few remarks upon the value of hollies in hedgerows or elsewhere. The holly tree is of slow growth and of invaluable service, as a shelter and a barrier. Landed proprietors should set an example to their tenants of care and protection to the holly tree and farmers should be induced to encourage the growth of hollies, and never to head them down under the mis- taken idea that the boughs of the '.holly will be very useful for repairing dead hedges, whereas, it is the most perishable material for that purpose, although the most impenetrable fence when alive and as it is the slowest growing of all trees except the yew, it should be totally exempt from the merciless cutting which is now devas- tating so many highways and hedges Hoping that the above remarks may be of some ser- vice, and attract attentioa to the dangerous destruction of wood which has so completely changed the aspect of the county of Monmouth, and which, if not speedily looked to, will have very bad results in more serious points than the comfort of the traveller or the pleasure of the artist, I remain, sir, your obedient humble servant, A RATIONAL AGRICULTURIST. September 29th, 1857.