Friday, 29 April 2016

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Beacon Hill


20.04.16  Broomy Leasow (SO 093 881) and The Top (SO 092 887) 

The Top (SO 092 887)

Overlooking the mid-Walian town of Newtown and to its south are two small hills, given map heights of 317m and 327m respectively, each now consist of closely cropped grass and are no doubt grazed by those lovable little white hill wonders known as sheep.

These two hills are not crag happy marvels of ice age sculpture, but they are pleasing and quiet affairs where one is unlikely to be disturbed except for the possibility of a farmer on a quad bike or a sheep and lamb suckling in the spring sunshine.

Having parked beside a T-junction on a minor lane between the two hills and to their east I did contemplate surveying their bylchau, but decided that this may prove a lengthy exercise and that a quiet stroll in beautiful afternoon sunshine to the top of each hill was the order of the day.  I followed a public footpath before heading toward the high point of the 327m map heighted and more southerly of the two hills, the sun beat down in a refreshing way with early year clear clarity and welcome warmth.

After negotiating a fence I popped out on the summit and proceeded to assess the lay of land from a number of directions and placed the Trimble on the ground.  As it beeped its way to 300 separate datum points during its five minutes of data gathering I converted my walking trousers to shorts and exposed my legs to the first sun of the walking year.

Gathering data at the summit of Broomy Leasow

Just below the summit of the hill is a house named Little Bryn-bedwyn which I called at hoping to enquire about the name of the hill, no one was in, so I wandered down the lane, called in at another bungalow, with again no response, I then contemplated calling in at Bank farm which is situated at the bwlch for the second and last hill of the day.  Deciding to leave the farm until after visiting the summit of the hill I proceeded down the narrow lane to the south-west of the summit, as I did so a vehicle appeared and as it looked as if it may have come from Bank farm I flagged it down.  I chatted with the driver for a few minutes; Gwyn Phillips was indeed the local farmer from Bank, and as the hill that I was interested in was straight above us I pointed its way and asked if he knew a name for it, ‘Just know it as The Top’, came the reply, I asked if he had ever heard any other name for it or if he knew of a field name for where the summit of the hill is situated, and he said ‘It’s on my land, but I’ve never heard another name for it’, with that I expressed my thanks and off he sped down towards the main road.

The Top overlooking Bank farm

After meeting Gwyn I clambered over a fence and made my way to the top of the hill and proceeded to take data from two points, not surprisingly both of which I thought to be close in height.  Once data collection was complete I headed down toward Graig, which is another farm on a direct course to where my car was parked, on the way I became fixated on the colours of new growth in the hedgerow, these shot out succulently sharp and tender and alive with radiant colour, I stopped and took some photos and happily continued to my car.

Gathering data at the summit of The Top

Broomy Leasow from the summit of The Top, with the house of Little Bryn-bedwen on right and Bank farm below

Succulent new growth

Once back home I examined the online Tithe maps for field names for the two hills I’d visited, these are listed as Bryn-bedwen and Pen-y-banc in the original P30 lists that are published on Geoff Crowder’s v-g.me website, both names are taken from near farms, a practice that I now consider unsatisfactory.  The online Tithe maps are slightly complicated in nature, but with a little perseverance I pinpointed each summit field, with the more northerly one being a part of the land of Bank farm and which has no name given it on the Tithe map, this information corresponds with the knowledge that the owner of this farm has, he told me he had lived there all of his life and except for the name he referred to the hill as; The Top, he did not know another name for the hill or for the field where the summit is situated. 

The more southerly hill is given the name of Bryn-bedwen in the original P30 lists, this name came from buildings to the south-west of the summit, with the house immediately below the summit to the north-west being named Little Bryn-bedwen.  As many Welsh farms take their name from the hill, or vice versa, one may think that giving this hill the name of Bryn-bedwen is appropriate, however the naming of farms after hills or vice versa is not always the case, and appointing a name to a hill should be a task undertaken with the same dedication that many spend with the appointment of the respective hill’s numerical data.  And the use of the Tithe map can show a multitude of names, especially so for the lower heighted hills.  If a Tithe map gives a field name for where the summit of the hill is situated this is more appropriate than using that of a farm which may have no association with the hill.

The field where the summit of the 325.6m hill at SO 093 881 is situated named as Broomy Leasow on the Tithe map

In the instance of the more southerly of these two hills the Tithe map gives a rather evocative name for the summit field; Broomy Leasow.  The word leasow means pasture or meadowland, whilst broomy means covered with or abounding in broom, broom being the flowering shrub.


Survey Result:



Summit Height:  325.6m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 09332 88123

Drop:  c 59m

Dominance:  18.12%  




Summit Height:  315.5m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 09275 88714

Drop:  32m (Ttichant status confirmed dependent upon accuracy of bwlch spot height)

Dominance:  10.14%



For further details please consult the Trimble survey spreadsheet click {here}


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