7 fantastic things about #TrigPillar80

When we decided to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the trig pillar last year, we had no idea how strongly so many of you felt about the (mostly) concrete pillars dotted around Britain. We’ve had over 1,200 Instagram posts, uncovered dozens of trig baggers, seen Rob Woodall complete his 13-year mission to bag all 6,190 and had hundreds of people, magazines and websites share stories throughout the year.

With 18 April fast-approaching, #TrigPillar80 is drawing to a close, and #TrigPillar81 doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. So, huge thanks to everyone who took part and keep sharing your trig pillar love with us. Here are 7 fantastic things about trig pillars in case you missed all of the celebrations this year:

1. We kicked it all off by sharing some facts and figures about the humble trig pillar – did you know they’re not all on hill tops?

2. We gave away T-shirts to some of the many people sharing their photos with us on Twitter and Instagram using #TrigPillar80. Winner Tracey later became a #GetOutside champion – and no it wasn’t just because she dressed Asher and Marley in our T-shirt!

Thank you #ordinancesurvey for picking our pic, we love the tshirt #trigpillar80

A post shared by Tracy Purnell (@asher.marley) on

3. Rob Woodall bagged his last trig pillarand we joined him to award him his very own personalised flush bracket!

4. Our #GetOutside champions chose their favourite trigsand shared routes to help you bag them.

5. BBC Online featured a trig pillar gallery to help us celebrate.

6. We shared the secret of what’s inside a trig pillar.

The inner workings of a trig pillar

7. We talked about how we map Britain today using just 110 control stations in OS Net, rather than the 6,000+ trig pillars in our history.

Of course, you can still get involved, follow the #GetOutside champions’ routes and share your photos with us. And let us know if you spot any damage or issues with one on your adventures, we’ll pass the information along to our surveying team. Happy trig-bagging everyone…

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4 Responses

  1. Jon

    Who owns trig points and who is responsible for their up keep? Can a landowner remove a trig point on their land?

    1. Hi Jon

      While we no longer use the majority of trig pillars, they are still our responsibility to maintain. If you do spot a trig pillar looking unsafe, let us know, so that we can take a look and decide on the best way to remedy it. Around 6,500 were originally built, and around 6,000 are still in position around Britain. Some have been removed by landowners, usually after consultation with us, so that we can confirm it is no longer used and remove it from our database for future map production. Any queries about unsafe trig pillars, or as a landowner wanting to move one, it’s best to email customerservices@os.uk and they will look into it.

      Many thanks

      1. Jon

        Thanks Gemma
        If a landowner wanted to paint a trig point on their land back to the original colour is that OK? What was the original colour?

        1. Hi Jon

          They were all painted white when first built (the standard concrete trigs – others were stone etc) to help them stand out. Observations were often carried out from hill tops at night, with huge lamps to triangulate positions between trig pillars – and white was easy to spot in those circumstances. If our surveying team have time, and spot a graffitied pillar, they have been known to head out and repaint them white, but it’s not a priority. We’d have no objections to a landowner returning the trig to its original white colour either.

          Many thanks

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