Vegetation map symbols

We recently came across a blog about the Ordnance Survey map symbols for rough grassland, heath and bracken and thought it would be helpful to give you an explanation on their use. Please head to the bottom of this blog to see all the symbols.

Originally bracken, rough grassland and heath were shown as separate symbols (1. bracken, 2. rough grassland  and 3. heath).  In 1976 bracken and rough grassland were amalgamated so there was just one symbol to indicate land being covered by rough grassland or bracken – it was made up of elements of both the symbols so it had some rough grass in it and some bracken (4).  Where space was tight a smaller symbol was also made incorporating both vegetation types (5).

The map symbols in the (6) legend  are shown in the following order; top left is the new amalgamated symbol for bracken and rough grassland, top right is the old bracken symbol. Bottom left is old rough grassland symbol and bottom right the heath symbol.  The heath symbol was not changed and has stayed the same.  The old symbols for bracken and rough grassland remain in the legend because there are still some sheets that have the old style individual bracken and rough grassland symbols.  The symbols were only updated on the mapping if there was a change in vegetation category so there are still large areas of old style vegetation shown on the mapping.

As for the placement of the symbols, information on the vegetation type is taken from our large-scale data which allows a mix of different types where this applies. However much like trees and rock features the symbolisation is an indication of the landscape type rather than representative of specific features.

Old bracken

1. Old bracken

Old rough grassland

2. Old rough grassland


3. Heath

4. Veg bracken rough grass

4. Veg bracken rough grass

Veg bracken rough grass reduced

5. Veg bracken rough grass reduced

Veg bracken heath rough grass

6. Veg bracken heath rough grass

You may also like

When real world mapping meets Tolkien
Britain’s most complex motorway junctions 
Join us at the UK Mapping Festival
Your right to roam with public rights of way

3 Responses

  1. OS User

    Hi, I’ve came across a vegetation symbol recently, looking like a capital ‘B’ not fully closed at the bottom with a horizontal line at the base on the right, what does it stand for?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name* :

Email* :