Could you read this passage and tell me what do wind down, dash down, and run down mean in this passage? Are they used as phrasal verbs or do they simply mean to go down?
And does 'in places' mean in some places?

'There were gentle, fertile valleys with little farmhouses or cottages sheltering on the slopes of the mountains, and quiet lakes and rivers winding down or, in places, dashing down to the coast, which is only twenty or thirty miles away, in places the mountains run right down into the sea.
Yes they are phrasal verbs with slightly different meanings.
WIND DOWN (or WINDS ITS WAY DOWN) relates to WINDING in the sense of a WINDING ROAD or PATH; it does not go straight down the side, but follows the gentle contours of the ground, and curves and MEANDERS a lot.
DASH DOWN is the opposite. The river runs down steep ground, so it will run quickly and more directly. The analogy is to DASH meaning RUN quickly over a short distance.
RUN DOWN is between the two. It conveys quick movement, but not over a short distance, as DASH does.
Yes, "in places" means "in some places".
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Since a road or a path can be either long or short so wind down can either refer to a long or short movement, right? Does it also convey a quick movement?

A WINDING road or path will be LONG. A short road may have twists and turns, but would not be described as WINDING. WINDING never conveys a QUICK movement; usually it conveys a SLOW movement. The rivers being described will follow fairly flat land, so they will not flow quickly. For a winding road, normally there are so many bends that you can't drive quickly. "LONG and WINDING ROAD" is an idiom; it's also the title of a beautiful song by Paul McCartney.
Also, I imagine these instruct us of three kinds of approaches one may follow along the road of life. The path you choose from the list is, say, (1) contemplative (2) head first (3) heart first. Thanks
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