Page images
PDF
EPUB

a walk of three miles in length, we passed through agreeable plantations of oak, ash, and elm, to the edge of a perpendicular cliff, called the Lover's Leap, overlooking an abyss-like hollow, whose fearful depth is softened by a tract of forest extending over the surrounding rocks. High above competition at the northern extremity of the scene rises Wynd cliff: a dark wood fringes its lofty summit, and shelves down its sides to the river Wye; which urges its sinuous course at the bottom of the glen. In one place, the river, gently curving, appears in all the breadth of its channel ; in another, projecting rocks and intervening foliage conceal its course, or sparingly exhibit its darkened surface. Following the bend of the river on its marginal height; a range of naked perpendicular cliffs (the Banagor rocks) appear above the wooded hills that prevail through the scenery; of so regular a figure, that one can scarcely help imagining it the fortification of town, with curtains, bastions, and demibastions. But a very leading feature is, the peninsula of Llanicut: the hills of Piercefield, here receding into a semicircular bend, watered by the river immediately beneath,

[ocr errors][merged small]

are opposed by a similar concavity in the Banagor rocks : the whole forming a grand amphitheatre of lofty woods and precipices. From the opposite side descends a fertile expanse, or tongue of land, filling up the area of the circle. This singular valley is laid out in a compact ornamented farm; the richly verdant meadows are intersected by flourishing hedge-rows; while numerous trees diversify the tract, and imbower the farm-house : a row of elms shadows the margin of the river, which, skirting the base of the hills, nearly surrounds the valley.

These subjects disclose themselves in different combinations through intervals in the shrubbery which encloses the walk; and which, although selected from the nicest observations, are- managed with so just an attention to the simplicity of nature, as to appear the work of her plastic hand.

The Giant's Cave, a little further, is a passage cut through a rock. Over one of the entrances is a mutilated colossal figure, which once sustained the fragment of a rock in his uplifted arms, threatening to overwhelm who.ever dared enter his retreat; but some time since the stone fell, carrying the Giant's arms along with it; yet he continues to grin hora ribly, although deprived of his terrors. From this place a path, traced under the woods, descends to the bath, a commodious building concealed from outward view by impendent foliage.

Deserting for a while the course of the river, we ascend a superior eminence called the Double View, whence the different scenes that have presented themselves in'detail appear in one comprehensive range. Here too a new field of prospect discloses itself, much more extensive than the former, and beautifully picturesque. The mazy Wye, with all its interesting accompaniments, passes from beneath us, through a richly variegated country, to its junction with the Severn, beyond whose silvery expanse the grand swelling shores of Somersetshire form the distance. A curious deceptio visus occurring here must not be passed over : it arises from a coincidence in the angle of vision between the embattled rocks already mentioned, and a part of the Severn; which appears to wash their summit, although in reality it is many miles distant, But the subject of the prospect

from

[ocr errors]

from this spot is scen much more picturesquely combined as we continue our walk on a gentle descent, and catch the varying scene through apertures in the foliage: yet there is something that one would wish to add or remove, until we reach the grotto, when a picture is exhibited in the happiest taste of composition.

In this charming view from the grotto, a diversificd plantation occupies the fore-ground, and descends through a grand hollow to the river, which passes in a long reach under the elevated ruin of Chepstow Castle, the town and bridge, towards the Severn. Rocks and precipices, dark shelving forests, groves, and lawns, hang on its course; and, with a variety of sailing-vessels, are reflected from the liquid mirror, with an effect that I cannot attempt to describe, and at which the magic pencil of a Claude would falter. The distant Severn and its remote shores form an excellent termination, and complete the picture.

On our visit, the rich extent of variegated woods that mantles this charming domain received an additional diversity in the endless gradations of autumnal tints that chequered their surface; while in a few

places

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »