Literally just 19 ridiculous British place names you can find on Ordnance Survey maps

Searching for all the bottoms on a map is a very useful way to spend your time. Image: US Department of Defense.

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.

Want more of this stuff? Follow CityMetric on Twitter or Facebook.

 
 
 
 

Barnet council has decided a name for its new mainline station. Exciting!

Artist's impression of the new Brent Cross. Image: Hammerson.

I’ve ranted before about the horror of naming stations after the lines that they’re served by (screw you, City Thameslink). So, keeping things in perspective as ever, I’ve been quietly dreading the opening of the proposed new station in north London which has been going by the name of Brent Cross Thameslink.

I’ve been cheered, then, by the news that station wouldn’t be called that at all, but will instead go by the much better name Brent Cross West. It’s hardly the cancellation of Brexit, I’ll grant, but in 2017 I’ll take my relief wherever I can find it.

Some background on this. When the Brent Cross shopping centre opened besides the A406 North Circular Road in 1976, it was only the third large shopping mall to arrive in Britain, and the first in London. (The Elephant & Castle one was earlier, but smaller.) Four decades later, though, it’s decidedly titchy compared to newer, shinier malls such as those thrown up by Westfield – so for some years now, its owners, Hammerson, have wanted to extend the place.

That, through the vagaries of the planning process, got folded into a much bigger regeneration scheme, known as Brent Cross Cricklewood (because, basically, it extends that far). A new bigger shopping centre will be connected, via a green bridge over the A406, to another site to the south. There you’ll find a whole new town centre, 200 more shops, four parks, 4m square feet of offices space and 7,500 homes.

This is all obviously tremendously exciting, if you’re into shops and homes and offices and not into depressing, car-based industrial wastelands, which is what the area largely consists of at the moment.

The Brent Cross site. Image: Google.

One element of the new development is the new station, which’ll sit between Hendon and Cricklewood on the Thameslink route. New stations are almost as exciting as new shops/homes/offices, so on balance I'm pro.

What I’ve not been pro is the name. For a long time, the proposed station has been colloquially referred to as Brent Cross Thameslink, which annoys me for two reasons:

1) Route names make rubbish modifiers because what if the route name changes? And:

2) It’s confusing, because it’s nearly a mile from Brent Cross tube station. West Hampstead Thameslink (euch), by contrast, is right next to West Hampstead tube.

Various other names have been proposed for the station. In one newsletter, it was Brent Cross Parkway; on Wikipedia, it’s currently Brent Cross South, apparently through confusion about the name of the new town centre development.

This week, though, Barnet council quietly confirmed it’d be Brent Cross West:

Whilst the marketing and branding of BXS needs to be developed further, all parties agree that the station name should build upon the Brent Cross identity already established. Given the station is located to the west of Brent Cross, it is considered that the station should be named Brent Cross West. Network Rail have confirmed that this name is acceptable for operational purposes. Consequently, the Committee is asked to approve that the new station be named Brent Cross West.

Where the new station will appear on the map, marked by a silly red arrow. Image: TfL.

That will introduce another irritating anomaly to the map, giving the impression that the existing Brent Cross station is somehow more central than the new one, when in fact they’re either side of the development. And so:

Consideration has also been given as to whether to pursue a name change for the tube station from “Brent Cross” to “Brent Cross East”.

Which would sort of make sense, wouldn’t it? But alas:

However owing to the very high cost of changing maps and signage London-wide this is not currently being pursued.

This is probably for the best. Only a handful of tube stations have been renamed since 1950: the last was Shepherd’s Bush Market, which was until 2008 was simply Shepherd's Bush, despite being quite a long way from the Shepherd's Bush station on the Central line. That, to me, suggests that one of the two Bethnal Green stations might be a more plausible candidate for an early rename.


At any rate: it seems unlikely that TfL will be renaming its Brent Cross station to encourage more people to use the new national rail one any time soon. But at least it won’t be Brent Cross Thameslink.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and also has a Facebook page now for some reason. 

Want more of this stuff? Follow CityMetric on Twitter or Facebook