From Amy Ruck to Horace Darwin [20 January 1872]1
Pantlludw, | Machynlleth.
I am afraid I have nothing worth telling about worms. I have been rather in despair this seems such a bad country for them as a “worm casting” is quite a rare sight even on our croquet ground where one might expect to see them, there is very few. Atty2 declares there are a dozen moles to every worm here— However on the top of the Hill there are some steep slopes ploughed about 50 or 60 years ago & we have done some digging & measuring there with these results— the furrows going chiefly crossways—
We found that the fine soil at the top of the slope was always shallower, being in the furrows at the top 2 inches, at the bottom 4; & that there was always about half an inch difference in the depth of the soil in the ridge & in the furrow, that in the furrow being deepest. We tried a good many times & always found this difference—
It is rare to find furrows running down a slope, but we came across a few in a basin, last ploughed during the Peninsular War—& there they almost disappeared at the bottom—the depth of the furrow between the ridges being at the top 4in. at the bottom 1in.3 Papa says, there is a place near his old home Newington called ‘Worm Dale, where they do wonders—4 Dicky & Lenny5 might go & look at it.
My thanks to you for wading through this. | ARR.
Describes the occurrence of earthworms and the signs of earthworm activity in the neighbourhood.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8168,” accessed on 23 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-8168