Trig Points

Do you know where you are?


England is dotted with over 6000 hidden-in-plain-sight concrete pillars.
I had never heard of them until now,
but once I did,
I had to go find myself a few.
They are called Trig Points.

With Satellites and cell phones it’s easy to know where you are.
But 75 years ago…
How did you know where to precisely build that road?
Other than that guy on the corner saying “…turn left at the Rose and Crown.”
That’s where triangulation points come in.
Aka, Trig Points.

Trig Points are fixed points so surveyors can use triangles to build accurate maps.
They were usually built on top of a hill,
With two other trig points visible.
They were built from 1935 to 1962.
I found the three nearest me, and planned visits.

The closest is a short walk from home.
Up an untraveled tiny lane.
Tiny lane is the correct description.
While walking up the lane I had to push myself into the hedge -watching out for triffids nettles- to let the car past.

Click Here for Video
Trig Points Tiny Lane Video

The concrete pillar is at the highest point in the lane, set in the hedge.
It probably had a nice view of Exmouth if I had decided to climb upon the pillar.
On the side is a metal plaque, which has OSBM
(Ordinance Survey Bench Mark)
and S4990


Also three converging lines.
This is a stylized arrow,
Pointing at the line just above.
The straight line is the Bench Mark.
The Bench Mark is the official height above sea level.
(the Latitude and Longitude of the Trig Point S4990:  50°38’37.2”N 3°24’09.3”W)

The second Trig Point is high on the footpath between Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton.
High on the cliffs, overlooking the Englsh Channel.
The best way to get to it is by walking the coastal path.
I almost didn’t find it.

At the highest point of the coastal path there is a trail that heads inland.
There are a few view benches scattered about.
Next to one of the benches is a tiny overgrown path leading 2 meters to the Trig Point.
The view is expansively beautiful of the English Channel.

This is the first time I could see the mechanics on top.
There is a hole with threads for something to be attached,
three grooved lines and three metal anchor points.
(S3755: 50°37’19.0″N 3°21’03.2″W, 50.621948, -3.350881)

The third is hidden in a forest,
The only way I was able to find this Trig Point was following the coordinates on my phone.
No view, but trees and green and invading sharp blackberry bushes
-which are almost ripe-
(S3766:  50°39’37.6″N 3°22’44.2″W)

There is something beautiful about nerd history,
The hidden steps we have taken to get where we are.
And a good excuse to wander through the
green countryside of England.







There is a Not Good Enough reflection on this piece:

Not Good Enough: Trig Points


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