We love a good map, here at CityMetric. But we do, inherently, have a bias against one type of map in particular – and it’s time we addressed that.
If only for a moment, it’s time to leave the confines of the city, escape that fettered air, and get out to the country.
Ordnance Survey maps are an institution – a proud British tradition of clutching helplessly against battering wind and rain, staring at a compass and an increasingly soggy, badly folded piece of paper in the vague hope that one of the dotted lines might actually take you home.
In cities, they’re almost useless. With no street names, stations indicated merely by large red dots, and no real space to see anything, they are not your inner-city guide.
But outside cities, they’re glorious. Clear, beautiful, design masterpieces, they’re incredibly handy if you’re some masochist who enjoys walking for fun.
And they also document all the weird and wonderful place names that dot these British Isles – from oddly named hamlets to stupidly named hills and giggle-inducing nooks and crannies.
Here are a few of our favourites from hours of fruitless scouring of the Ordnance Survey filter on Bing Maps. Please do send in your favourites – there’s too much joy not to share.
1) Bell End, Worcestershire
Click to expand all. All images: Ordnance Survey via Bing Maps.
A classic of the genre. Presumably a perfectly nice little hamlet in Worcestershire, though it may be a little spoiled by the large dual carriageway that runs through it.
2) Bishop Spit, Kent
A soon-to-be-bottled rare substance, beloved by artisan cafés throughout east London as an alternative to milk substitutes from almond to oat milk.
3) Bishop Ooze, Kent
Er, see above?
4) Greedy Gut, East Yorkshire
The sort of body-positivity endorsement you get from your mother after you’ve had seven roast potatoes at the family Christmas dinner.
5) Gentlemen’s Cave, Orkney
Cigars and brandy after ten, female guests permitted only during lunching hours, ties to be worn at all times. The sort of place Jacob Rees-Mogg frequents for a spot of peace to bash out his Telegraph articles.
6) Breast Sand, Norfolk
Er, see above? Not far from Sandringham, so perhaps the Queen frequents.
7) Come-to-Good, Cornwall
Nothing that amusing here, I just think it’s a rather adorable place name. I’m tempted to move.
8) Knob’s Crook, Dorset
Of or pertaining to Knob, or denoting that Knob is a vagabond and untoward ragamuffin?
9) Moo Field, Shetland Islands
I imagine a Viking invader heard a cow moo in a field and began a seductive game of call-and-response just as ye ancient cartographer next to him was asking what this place should be called.
10) Twatt, Orkney
We love you too, Orkney.
11) Moor Cock, Lancashire
I think the less said here the better.
12) Thong Moor, West Yorkshire
There’s a whole collection of thongs here, it’s quite the community. Perhaps they should set up an underwear collective. Or found a flip-flop factory that exports exclusively to Australia.
13) Sportsman’s Rest, North Yorkshire
I like that this is disused. Today’s sportsmen need no rest, you fool.
14) Titty Hill, East Sussex
There’s nothing all that funny to say here, really.
15) Shepherd’s Bottom, Dorset
And here begin the many bottoms of the countryside. In fairness, I imagine the shepherds had to entertain themselves somehow while they were watching their flocks by night.
16) Loose Bottom, East Sussex
Do I really need to say it?
17) Wild Church Bottom, Dorset
Some vagrant priest or something. Will be receiving summons to Lambeth Palace for a talking-to before too long.
18) Cock Heads, North Yorkshire
I’m really sorry. This’ll be over soon.
19) Hell’s Mouth, Cornwall
Not far from Deadman’s Cove, though we must remember that correlation is not causation.
There must be thousands more enjoyable designations out there, so tweet them to us.
Jack May is a regular contributor to CityMetric and tweets as @JackO_May.
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