You may know about our trig pillars, but did you know that there are more nostalgic reminders of how we used to map Great Britain?
Have you ever seen one of these while you’ve been out and about? If so, it is highly likely you have spotted one of our renowned benchmarks. 2018 marks 25 years since the last traditionally-cut arrow style benchmark was carved on a milestone located outside The Fountain pub in Loughton.
Every year millions of Brits pack up their camping gear, wave goodbye to the shower for a few days and head out into the great outdoors. But while they’re not going hiking in the wilderness, it doesn’t mean that things aren’t about to get wild.
You guessed it – we are, of course, talking about the many great British music festivals which take place predominantly in the summertime. In this article we’re going to take a quick look through some of the largest and most acclaimed festivals, as well as some you might not have heard of, before also breaking down some of the essential camping items you’ll need when you’re there.
Visitors to South Wales have long held the historic county of Glamorgan in high regard. Twinning the urban centres of Cardiff and Swansea with the world-famous green, green grass of rural Wales, there is certainly plenty on offer. So what exactly should visitors to this famed part of the world do on their breaks?
When you consider the quintessential British summer, it probably involves garden parties, canapés and…bog snorkelling?
No, you haven’t misread. Britain is home to some weird and wonderful sports over the summer months and offers some interesting alternatives to traditional summer sports and activities, like tennis and cricket.
Fancy trying something new this year?
We’re lucky in Britain that our seasons are so wonderfully defined; each one quite distinct from its predecessor due to the colour of the leaves on the trees, the abundance of native flowers and the low-lying mist on the ground. It would be difficult to choose a favourite season, even the tumultuous grey skies of late autumn, the withering heat of summer and the frozen ground of mid-winter have their charms – but there’s something about spring; this awakening of nature after its sleepy hibernation and regeneration of flora and fauna.
Following the government’s recent announcements around investing in roads and infrastructure across Britain, we decided to take a dip into our database and investigate some of the 450 million features in there. We make over 10,000 changes a day to the geographic database of Great Britain and are already looking forward to capturing the details of any new roads, as well as changes to existing ones.
Take a look at some of the figures we’ve pulled out from our database.
Our video shows Britain’s road network too:
Question 1: In which city is the Great Central Railway, the only place in the world where you can see full-size steam engines passing each other, located?
One of the most common questions we are asked in Ordnance Survey’s Press Office is ‘where is the geographic centre of Britain?’ Most recently, the BBC got in contact with us, framing their article around the question of Scottish Independence and the effect that would have on the centre of Great Britain. The question continues to bubble up as it always has been a contentious issue with many differing views on locations – and even how you define the centre, define Great Britain, and how you measure it.
As you’ll see in the BBC article, the town of Haltwhistle in Northumberland proudly proclaims itself to be the centre of Great Britain as it is mid-way along the mainland’s longest line of longitude; and there is a stone cross in Meriden, near Coventry, claiming to be the geographical centre of England. Some people claim the point farthest from the sea must be the centre (a spot just east of Church Flatts Farm, about a mile south-east of Coton-in-the-Elms, Derbyshire), but others don’t think this can accurately be called the centre…so, where is the centre of Great Britain?
We read an article recently about all of the different words we use across Great Britain to talk about the humble bread roll. While bread roll is probably the most common term these days, the fact that we’re using it, could well mark us out as coming from the south of England. And we do, we’re based down in Southampton, at Ordnance Survey’s Explorer House head office. As well as being called a bread roll, others across Britain know it as the barm cake, bap, stottie or cob.
This wide range of names got us thinking about other terms that have regional variations. The English language is so rich, and there are a surprising number of dialects for such a condensed area as Great Britain. We came up with a range of words for which we could identify regional variations and set about adding them to a map.
British Food Fortnight kicked off on 21 September, so we thought we’d join in the festivities with a British food map. There are many British foods that are associated with places around Great Britain – such as Caerphilly and Red Leicester cheeses or Cornish pasties and Lincolnshire sausages.
We decided to use OS OpenSpace, our free service allowing users to embed maps into web pages, to capture some of the foods and drinks that have names associated with places in Great Britain. You can see a preview of the map below or see it in full screen on our website: