The popularity of the ITV series Downton Abbey, has lead to a dramatic increase in visitors to Highclere Castle, the Berkshire stately home where the series is filmed. It seems that the writer of the series, Julian Fellowes, was a long-standing friend of the Carnarvon family, owners of Highclere Castle, and had it in mind as he wrote Downton Abbey.
Of course, there are many stately homes, and historic ruins, around the country that are worth a visit. Some are in private ownership, while some belong to the National Trust and other organisations. Many also afford the opportunity to enjoy a walk around their grounds and the surrounding countryside, a great way to see somewhere new and enjoy the great outdoors at the same time.
These historic buildings are captured by our team of surveyors or through aerial imagery and available on our mapping. They are far more substantial than the average home, but would you recognise one on a map? We’ve chosen eight properties from across Great Britain to test your knowledge on stately homes. Post your answers on the blog and we’ll see if you’re an historic homes buff! And no, Highclere Castle isn’t one of the featured properties!
Are you looking for the perfect spot to take your loved one for Valentine’s Day? Of course, you could go to a lovely restaurant and wine and dine your nearest and dearest…or if you’re a lover of the great outdoors you could take them to somewhere with a romantic name! See our list of romantic place names on the map in Great Britain – and let us know if you think we’ve missed a gem!
1. Lover, Wiltshire – apparently the village post office is flooded with Valentine’s cards each February with romantics wanting the Lover postmark.
2. Heart’s Delight, Kent – there are actually two to choose from, one near Barham and one near Sittingbourne.
As 2011 draws to a close we thought we’d share with you our top ten most popular blog stories from the year. If you’re new to the blog, get a feel for the things we talk about; and if you’re a regular blog-reader, remind yourself of what we’ve been talking about this year.
And if there’s anything you’d like to see more of or any questions you’d like answered on the blog – let us know.
10. Know your grid references – for those of you who aren’t sure of how to take a grid reference – here’s a step by step guide.
9. All of a Twitter about mapping – a two week period of tweeting by our surveyors gave you a flavour of the work they do every day.
8. Mapping applications for your phone – location based applications are big business in the Smartphone market and none more so than apps using Ordnance Survey data.
A few months ago, we told you about the work we have been doing with The Osmington White Horse restoration team to help them to restore the figure to its original form. So, as the winter sets in and the team are no longer on the hill, I thought you might like to hear about how it’s gone and what’s happening next.
The Osmington White Horse is a figure cut into the hill just outside Weymouth Bay. The figure of George III on his horse was originally created in 1808 and is enormous at 85 metres long and nearly 100 metres high. It’s on a very steep slope which can be seen from Weymouth Bay which will host the sailing element of the Olympics in 2012.
Although there have been a number of spasmodic maintenance and restoration projects over the years (including Challenge Anneka in the 1980s) the figure had deteriorated badly and the original figure had become overgrown and ill-defined over time.
The project to restore the figure started in 2009 by The Osmington Society – an amazing group of local people with a desire to improve the heritage in their area. They enlisted the support of Natural England, English Heritage and Ordnance Survey to help identify the original outline.
In Great Britain we’re blessed with 10 000 miles of traffic free cycle routes and today we’re going to share our top five locations with you.
Traffic free cycle routes are shown on Ordnance Survey maps in one of two ways – first there is a trail of orange circles and the other is a red number in a clear box – denoting that it is part of the national cycle network.
Looking at the weather out of the window summer is a dim and distant memory, if indeed it ever happened at all! As the nights start to draw in and the leaves turn to various shades of brown I thought that we’d take ourselves off on a world tour today – without the need for a passport! Within our own shores we have places that sound as though they should be elsewhere in the world …
Let’s take in the sites of Europe first – we could go to Barcelona (Cornwall – OS grid reference SX219535), Holland (Surrey – OS grid reference TQ400504), Moscow (North Ayrshire – OS grid reference NS487402), Florence (Stoke on Trent – OS grid reference SJ918422) or Dresden (Stoke on Trent – OS grid reference SJ910423).
Heading into the Middle East we come across Bethlehem (Carmarthenshire – OS grid reference SN688253), Jerusalem (Cumbria – OS grid reference NY657194) and Jordan (Devon – OS grid reference SX699750).
Rather than heading out across the Atlantic why not try Hollywood (Worcestershire – OS grid reference SP083774), Dallas (Moray – OS grid reference NJ114519), Houston (Renfrewshire – OS grid reference NS405668) or Canada (Hampshire – OS grid reference SU287182).
If you’re after an antipodean adventure then look no further than Melbourne (Derbyshire – OS grid reference SK397248), Botany Bay (Enfield – OS grid reference TQ299 992), Sydney (Cheshire – OS grid reference SJ726565), New Zealand (Wiltshire – OS grid reference SU011773), Christchurch (Dorset – OS grid reference SZ153926) or Wellington (Telford – OS grid reference SJ646122).
Using Ordnance Survey maps – where else can you visit on your world tour without leaving Great Britain?
On your outdoor adventures have you come across people who claim to have “bagged” Wainwrights, Munros, Grahams or Peaks? Have you wondered what they were talking about? Today on the Ordnance Survey blog I aim to explain what they all mean! If you don’t know your Marilyns from your Munros or your Wainwrights from your Hardys – read on!
This term means – a hill walker / climber / mountaineer attempting to reach the summit of a collection of hills / peaks.
The collection of hills or peaks that are “bagged” could be one of the following …
These are all the Scottish hills / peaks that are over 3 000ft. The list on Munros was originally set by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891 but has since been revised by the Scottish Mountaineering Club. There are 283 Munros to be bagged with an additional 227 subsidiary Munro Tops listed that meet the height requirement but aren’t deemed to be separate enough from others to stand alone.
Earlier this year I was involved with the running of a series of Ordnance Survey map reading workshops across Great Britain. One topic that regularly cropped up was rights of way – where can I go walking? Today on the Ordnance Survey blog I hope to be able to answer that question for you.
When we’re compiling the information for our maps we talk to a variety of other organisations and groups that provide different data-sets to link with the maps. When our surveyors are on the ground, or when our cartographers take information from the aerial photography that our plane has taken, they can’t always tell what the rights of way in that area are. We work with local authorities and national bodies (such as Sustrans and Natural England) to bring the information together for the maps. The maps are as accurate as they can be with the information that we have to hand at the time of the map being printed.
First of all – let’s have a look at the map and see what that tells us. What we’re looking at is the “Communications” section on the map legend. Here we can see the different types of roads and paths and public rights of way.
The sun’s path through the sky is completely predictable and if we become familiar with its movements it can be used to navigate quite accurately. So what is its path through the sky? Ask most people and they will say it rises in the east, passes overhead at noon and sets in the west but there are several inaccuracies in this statement.
Here, Jason Ingamells of Woodland Ways, one of the UK’s leading Bushcraft experts, explains how you can navigate using the sun.
Because of the tilt of the earth and our latitude in this country the sun only ever rises exactly east and sets exactly west on the spring and autumn equinoxes. On the summer solstice it actually rises almost north-east and sets north-west, whilst on the winter solstice it rises roughly south-east and sets south west. The same factors (tilt and latitude) also mean the sun never actually passes directly overhead but is always to the south of us even in midsummer. There are also slight variations in the spin of the earth which mean that the sun isn’t always at its highest point at exactly noon as one would imagine, it can actually by up to about 15 minutes before or after noon when it’s at its highest. In addition in summer by moving the clocks forward by an hour things get even more complicated.
We are blessed in the northern hemisphere because at this current moment in history we have a star which is directly over the north rotational axis of the earth i.e. the north pole and it is called Polaris or the North Star. This means that wherever you are in the northern hemisphere this star will appear to remain stationary in the sky and all the other stars will appear to rotate around it. This of course is not the stars themselves moving but just the effect caused by the rotation of the earth.
Here, Jason Ingamells of Woodland Ways, one of the UK’s leading Bushcraft experts, explains how you can navigate using the stars.