212 KIPLING'S SUSSEX
Some parts of the Downs are arable, but in general they are reserved for pasturage, and support a breed of sheep superior to any in the kingdom. As there are no natural springs on the chalk hills, the flocks are supplied with water from large but shallow circular ponds, the bottoms of which are covered with a layer of ochraceous clay, to prevent the water percolating through the chalk ; they are seldom known to fail, even in the hottest summers. White in his " Natural History of Selborne," has described these ponds in very graphic language. A book with a formidable title but most interesting subject matter is Messrs. A. J. & G. Hubbard's " Neolithic Dew-ponds and Cattleways." Every one who has ascended, or hopes to ascend, Cissbury and Chanctonbury Rings should make a point of reading this informing volume.
Sheep are the dominating animal of the Downs. The ancient imprints of the flocks is deeply stamped on every hill, and the tangled sheep tracks give a character to the landscape which is quite unique. The sheep in passing along the steepest concave hillsides have moulded the chalk into innumerable parallel lines. These terraced sheep paths give the appearance of tiers of seats in some great amphitheatre. Since the days when the