Natural England


Osmington White Horse – an update

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. Read More


Trailblaze across the countryside

There is a TrailBlaze route along part of the South West Coast Path

There is a Trailblaze route along part of the South West Coast Path

If you’ve been exploring some of the national trails this summer you may have noticed some white metal boxes along the way with the image of red flames on it. The boxes are part of self guided trail running routes along the national trails that enable the runner to check in at the check points to log their times.

Trailblaze have set courses on several of the national trails including the South West Coast Path, Pennine Way and Offa’s Dyke Path with the support of Natural England. After registering in advance, the runner is provided with a timing tag that must be inserted into each of the checkpoints along the route – this is then fed into an online leader board that you can check when you get home.

There are different levels of trails available to test your stamina and skill ranging from moderate, difficult and hard through to severe and extreme! Each of the trails differ in terrain but the ultimate aim, wherever you do one of the trails is to go the furthest you can, under your own steam and in one go! The routes are all shown on their website using our OS OpenSpace mapping API so you can judge which is better suited to your ability.

The routes are open for you to try all day, every day – and if you tackle one that goes on one of the national trails (denoted by the National Trails logo of an acorn) 20% of your entry fee is donated to maintaining the upkeep of the 2 500 miles of National Trails in Great Britain.

Have you done any of the Trailblaze routes? If so – how did you get on? Which other national trails and long distance routes would you like to see a trail running route set up on?




Everything you need to know about Rights of Way

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. Read More