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.

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What's actually in the UK government’s bailout package for Transport for London?

Wood Green Underground station, north London. Image: Getty.

On 14 May, hours before London’s transport authority ran out of money, the British government agreed to a financial rescue package. Many details of that bailout – its size, the fact it was roughly two-thirds cash and one-third loan, many conditions attached – have been known about for weeks. 

But the information was filtered through spokespeople, because the exact terms of the deal had not been published. This was clearly a source of frustration for London’s mayor Sadiq Khan, who stood to take the political heat for some of the ensuing cuts (to free travel for the old or young, say), but had no way of backing up his contention that the British government made him do it.

That changed Tuesday when Transport for London published this month's board papers, which include a copy of the letter in which transport secretary Grant Shapps sets out the exact terms of the bailout deal. You can read the whole thing here, if you’re so minded, but here are the three big things revealed in the new disclosure.

Firstly, there’s some flexibility in the size of the deal. The bailout was reported to be worth £1.6 billion, significantly less than the £1.9 billion that TfL wanted. In his letter, Shapps spells it out: “To the extent that the actual funding shortfall is greater or lesser than £1.6bn then the amount of Extraordinary Grant and TfL borrowing will increase pro rata, up to a maximum of £1.9bn in aggregate or reduce pro rata accordingly”. 

To put that in English, London’s transport network will not be grinding to a halt because the government didn’t believe TfL about how much money it would need. Up to a point, the money will be available without further negotiations.

The second big takeaway from these board papers is that negotiations will be going on anyway. This bail out is meant to keep TfL rolling until 17 October; but because the agency gets around three-quarters of its revenues from fares, and because the pandemic means fares are likely to be depressed for the foreseeable future, it’s not clear what is meant to happen after that. Social distancing, the board papers note, means that the network will only be able to handle 13 to 20% of normal passenger numbers, even when every service is running.


Shapps’ letter doesn’t answer this question, but it does at least give a sense of when an answer may be forthcoming. It promises “an immediate and broad ranging government-led review of TfL’s future financial position and future financial structure”, which will publish detailed recommendations by the end of August. That will take in fares, operating efficiencies, capital expenditure, “the current fiscal devolution arrangements” – basically, everything. 

The third thing we leaned from that letter is that, to the first approximation, every change to London’s transport policy that is now being rushed through was an explicit condition of this deal. Segregated cycle lanes, pavement extensions and road closures? All in there. So are the suspension of free travel for people under 18, or free peak-hours travel for those over 60. So are increases in the level of the congestion charge.

Many of these changes may be unpopular, but we now know they are not being embraced by London’s mayor entirely on their own merit: They’re being pushed by the Department of Transport as a condition of receiving the bailout. No wonder Khan was miffed that the latter hadn’t been published.

Jonn Elledge was founding editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and on Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.