Downs


Downs
Downs (dounz)
Two roughly parallel ranges of chalk hills in southeast England. The North Downs extend about 161 km (100 mi) from west to east; the South Downs, about 105 km (65 mi). Both are sheep-rearing areas.

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the general name for a number of ranges of low chalk hills, covered with grass but no trees, in southern England. The different ranges have different names, including the North Downs, the South Downs and the Berkshire Downs.

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      rounded and grass-covered hills in southern England that are typically composed of chalk. The name comes from the Old English dūn (“hill”). The main areas of chalk downs lie in Berkshire, Wiltshire, and northern Hampshire, with spurs running eastward into West Sussex, Surrey, and Kent. Chalk hills of similar type are called Wolds in Lincolnshire and in Yorkshire.

      Because of the porous nature of chalk, the Downs' summits are dry in summer, and tree growth is normally slow, even if undisturbed. Regeneration has been prevented by sheep grazing. The Downs were formerly well wooded, but now only scattered woodlands of beech, yew, juniper, and box are found.

      The Downs are notable for their evidence of prehistoric occupation, including figures of horses cut out of turf; ridge and scarp-foot trackways that focus on megalithic (megalith) monuments, such as Avebury and Stonehenge in Wiltshire; innumerable burial mounds or barrows; (barrow) defensive earthworks; and ring encampments, such as Maiden Castle in Dorset.

      The characteristic bare and rounded summits of the Downs, where uncultivated, have a springy turf of fescue grass with a distinctive vegetation, including rare orchids, and fauna of snails and insects. Mechanical plows have now made it possible to cultivate all but the steepest slopes of downs, however, and on many downs crops or manured leas have replaced the turf on which flocks of sheep used to graze.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • downs — downs; downs·man; …   English syllables

  • Downs — (engl., spr. Dauns), 1) niedrige, kahle Hügel, längs der Südküste von England, werden in Dorsetshire u. Wiltshire höher u. gebirgartig; 2) so v.w. Dünen …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Downs [1] — Downs (spr. dauns), s. Schaf …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Downs [2] — Downs (spr. dauns, »Dünen«), zwei Höhenzüge in England, die, von der Ebene von Salisbury ausgehend, sich in östlicher Richtung erstrecken. Die nördlichen D., die im Inkpen Beacon (südlich vom Kennet) 296 m Höhe erreichen, enden mit den Felsen… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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  • Downs — (spr. dauns, d.h. Dünen), in Südengland zwei Reihen von Kreidehügeln, die North D., von Winchester östl. bis Dover und Folkestone, bis 295 m hoch, die South D., mit schönen Weiden (South Down Schafe), von Eastbourne bis Hampshire, bis 248 m hoch …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon


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