Ordnance Survey Ephemera

OS Map from 1852 showing position of survey benchmark.
Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland http://maps.nls.uk/index.html

There are quite a few bits of survey ephemera along Cut Gate in the Dark Peak. Benchmarks are much in evidence if you know where to look.

Just above the words “Lost Lad” on the 1852 Ordnance Survey map of Cut Gate, high above Langsett, there are two benchmarks denoted, the B.M followed by the elevation above Mean Sea Level in feet. Mean Sea Level in them days was taken from the measurements obtained at the Liverpool Datum, whereas today it is Newlyn. The first Benchmark happens just before the ford which is the turn off point for the spot height on Lost Lad itself. It is simple arrow beneath a line, but unusually is on a flat surface and not a vertical one, making it a little difficult to be accurate in the measurement. It is also accompanied by the initials RW, Rimmington Wilson the then landowner, chiselled at a later date and certainly with not as much skill.

The Benchmark on a gritstone boulder on Cut Gate

Heading down the Cut Gate path towards Langsett a further benchmark can be found on the gate post of the boundary wall at Hingcliff Common.

Benchmark shown on 1891 OS map on Cut Gate below Hingcliff Common
Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland http://maps.nls.uk/index.html

Grouse had been introduced onto the moors for several decades when the benchmark was carved so it would have looked pretty much the same as today with one exception. The Cut Gate track went through the gate posts where as today the line of the path goes someway to the south-east.

Benchmark on the gate post along the line of the 1891 Cut Gate, Langsett

A surveying team would consist of a surveyor and his assistant. The surveyor took the reading and the assistant held the staff and lugged the equipment around. It was the surveyor who chiselled in the benchmark. I often try to imagine the team out in all weathers mapping the area. Around these two benchmarks are many more plus triangulation points on Hingcliff Hill and Pike Lowe to the east. The maps they produced are remarkably accurate and can still be followed today on the ground. The really interesting thing about old maps are the items marked that are no longer on modern-day maps.

Author: Paul Besley

Writer I have spent most of my life escaping in to Britains National Parks and wilderness areas. I have grown to love the solitude it can bring and I like to share this with others either through guiding people or through my writing. I now spend half my life either as a ranger, guide or writer, involved with the natural landscape we are all a part of. It is these experiences that I wish to write and share about.

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