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Darwin Correspondence Project

From G. H. Darwin   30 December 1871

Dec. 30. 71

A grass field betw. Leaves Green & the Salt Box house on the right hand of the road is marked with ridge & furrow.1 The field contains the end of a small valley where it quite dies out, so that the land is somewhat in the shape of a shallow spoon;—the furrows run parallel to the main line of the small valley ie parallel to the handle of the spoon.— Horace2 & I attempted to find the depth of the soil above the flints in the steepest part where the furrows ran transversly to the hill by probing with a stick   I probed in the furrows & he on the ridges about 10 or 15 times each & then I found that the average distances of the flints below the surface on the furrows & ridges were about 5 inches & 312 inches respectively. We excluded the cases in wh. the stick obviously missed the flints & went in deep.— We tried the same thing in a part of the field which was nearly flat & found the depth below the furrows & ridges to be about 4 inches & 312 inches respectively.— The furrows appeared slightly more filled up on the hill side than on the flat   There were a good many earth castings about tho’ I shd. say that they were by no means very numerous



Leaves Green is near Biggin Hill, Keston, in Kent, and is less than two miles from Down House.
George’s brother, Horace Darwin.


Varying depth of top-soil in a ridge-and-furrow field with a depression.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Howard Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 162: 64
Physical description
AmemS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8124,” accessed on 15 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19