Wednesday 29 April 2009

River paths, museums and no signs

The Wilberforce Way has helped me improve the map of Hull, but not by adding the way to the map. I've spent another afternoon wandering about the city looking for signs of the Wilberforce way and completely failed to find any sign of it. One of the reasons might be that the leaflet we have was published by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, not Hull City Council. Maybe Hull Council have just ignored it and not put any signs up. The only real signs we have found are in East Yorkshire. While searching for signs we did discover this little gem, notice the wall that's a fence without any wire barbed or not.

Still, we did have a pleasant afternoon in the sun walking along footpaths beside the river Hull that I didn't know existed. It also made me realise that the existing mapping of the lower reaches of the river are not well mapped. Most of it is a single way when it is wide enough to need the riverbank approach. The biggest problem is that there is not any access to both banks of the river for some of its route through the city, especially the widest part. I looked at Landsat images and the out-of-copyright maps and I think I can create a better mapping of it than currently exists.

The Wilberforce way goes past the Wilberforce museum in High Street, but there was no sign of the way. I didn't go into the museum to ask for any information which I now think I should do. We did walk past the Arctic Corsair which is a retired side-winder trawler and now a museum.

It has inspired me to walk along as much of the riverside paths as we can find over the next few weeks, which will allow me to add the paths of course but also draw the river much more accurately, but I've given up on the WW in Hull.

Monday 27 April 2009

Post boxes

I've been saving a little job for a rainy day. I didn't know I'd have to wait for weeks for the rain. We are very keen to see some heavy rain for our garden and allotment. It rained a bit so we went out to check the post boxes in HU9 in Hull. We've checked other parts of the city based on a list provided by the Royal Mail, but the list is not that good. The HU9 area is a roughly triangular slice of the city, with Holderness Road on the north-west hypotenuse, the river Humber on the south side and the city boundary to the east. Once again a systematic search proved very difficult because of the quality of the list descriptions.

A few examples: Southcoates Lane had no post boxes on it according to the list but actually had three boxes along its length. The box described as Bilton Grange remains unmapped, Bilton Grange is district of the city which we searched but clearly not well enough, the name of the road the box is on would have been nice . The box described as on Barham Road is actually on the junction of Staveley Road and Thanet Road. Others were up to the usual Royal Mail standard of being near the described road rather than on it. There's more of this fun to come in future trips.

Wednesday 22 April 2009

Swallows and Hull

We set off to check out more of the Wilberforce Way. It is supposed to start at the wonderful aquarium in Hull called The Deep. It is then supposed to head roughly north along the river Hull until it leaves the city heading for Beverley. We spent an almost completely fruitless afternoon chasing it. We only have the leaflet to go on and its map is next to useless, so I was dependant on finding signs on the route. We only found one sign that might be part of the route, but the picture shows it is only a hint. The scrap that remains doesn't match any other sign I have a picture of and there are no other routes in this area that have 'Way' in their name. All the same I can't add this to the map as the Wilberforce Way. We will search beyond the city to see if we can find the route further north to join to the existing route we have already found.

I could buy the book of the route, but I feel bad about this for two reasons. Firstly I'm a Yorkshireman. We are much like Scotsmen, but with all their generosity wrung out, so spending money on the book might sting too much. The second, more serious, reason is that if I can't find signs on the ground then simply lifting the route from a book is arguably a breach of the publisher's copyright.

The upside of the search was that we added some cycle lanes along the way and we saw our first swallows of the year. The bird books all call them barn swallows, but the 'barn' bit is never really used here. I suppose it's to distinguish them from any other kind of swallow but that's what the Latin name is for, which, if you're interested is Hirundo rustica. I managed to snap a couple of pictures of a swallow, which is tricky because they fly fast and jink suddenly.

Friday 17 April 2009

Mill Rise

We wandered around a little part of our village recording addresses. What a pleasant change from Dale Close, we got a few smiles and hellos and no hostility at all. This addressing lark takes a long time to do well. I can't add it to the database at the moment because of the API upgrade to version 0.6.

The other reason to take the GPS out for a walk is to check out the Garmin GPS maps I've just loaded from Lambertus's site. The maps are pretty large compared to the Garmin ones so I had to load a large chunk of the north of England which takes a while through the serial link that my old Garmin Etrex has. My laptop went into standby near the end of the first upload process, so I had to start again, but it was certainly worth waiting for. The map looks great and the current track is drawn alongside the map. Well done Lambertus, it really is great.

Wednesday 15 April 2009

South Holderness Rail Trail

As part of the push to map the villages of the southern part of Holderness, we set out to map Keyingham. It's a fairly ordinary village with a couple of churches and a couple of pubs, a new school and a chunk of the South Holderness Rail Trail. This is an abandoned railway running from Hull to Withernsea, although the rail trail only goes as far as Patrington according to the East Riding Council web site. We are working our way towards Patrington so we'll find out. The abandoned station at Hedon is a car park for access to the trail, but in Keyingham the station is a private house, so the trail has to take a detour along a couple of tracks. I first saw the route in the east side of Hull which is a wide, tarmacked path. The trail between Hedon and Keyingham is a muddy track, not a cinder track like some abandoned rail lines and certainly not paved. It is signed as a footpath, but the council web site hints at riding a bike on it. I'd ride a mountain bike, prepared for mud, but it might be a bit much for a road bike.

Friday 10 April 2009


Yesterday we went to complete Burstwick, which was straightforward. We are slowly knocking off the bigger villages in the south of Holderness. There are a few left to go at and some tiny places with some small country roads. There's only lo-res Yahoo for the area, so visiting the places is essential. Recently soemone has added some parish boundaries from the out-of-copyright maps, but comparing them to modern OS maps the boundaries have moved. I can't use the modern OS data of course, but some of the parish boundaries are clearly wrong, so I think we should wait until we find a way to add the modern boundaries rather than add something which is inaccurate.

Yesterday I bought a new cycle carrier. It fits on my towbar and so is clear of the car. My last carrier doesn't fit the shape of this car well and I'm always worried about the carrier scratching the paint. This summer we will be able to range more widely with the bikes. I'm not fit enough to ride long distances any more so riding my bike locally gets a bit monotonous, but if I carry them and start somewhere else some of the fun will return. I want to improve the mapping of the cycle routes in Hull to be able to produce a cycle map that is much more up-to-date than the current City Council map.

Spring is gaining ground, with flowering trees and shrubs coming to their best, which makes walking and cycling even better.

Monday 6 April 2009

School's out

We have driven through Bilton time and time again. It is on one of the main routes out of Hull to the North East and I'd just kind of ignored it, so today we went to Bilton, not through it. We wandered around this little village which is only just in East Yorkshire. It was quiet, except the main road (B1238). We didn't even see many kids even though it was a school holiday, but when we got to look at the primary school there was a fire engine with blue lights flashing, so maybe school needed putting out.

We went on to add a little road near Burstwick. The village is not complete - it's on my list to do soon, but I wanted to look at the abandoned railway line nearby. Once again it is just a footpath, even though many such trackbeds have been made into cycleways.

Thursday 2 April 2009

Old map

I went to see my uncle yesterday and he gave me a surprising gift. He raked about in a cupboard and came up with some rolled up maps. He got them from a building clearance some years ago. In an office there was a pile of maps laid flat that was nearly a metre high. He rummaged through them to find anything he was interested in and kept about twenty - only a small fraction of the pile. The rest were eventually destroyed! He gave me a couple to bring home - I'm going to look at the rest another day.

The maps I brought home are Ordnance Survey maps dated 1927. They are a whopping 1:2500 scale, so 40cm to 1km. The attached photo, which is just a snap, shows they are in black and white, with fine detail, but at that scale a lot of empty space in rural areas. The map covers about 1½ km by 2½ km and has part of the village I live in on one corner. The area of my house is just part of a field. Some modern names give clues to the past. Close to my house is a place called Pinfold Cottage, sure enough there is a pinfold on the map - a walled enclosure where animals were kept. There a Chapel (site of) nearby, where Chantry Lane is today.

Some of the roads and tracks have names that I know are used locally, but I have not found any documentary evidence for them before. One annoying one is a road called Swanland Dale. This name appears on Google maps, but no-one ever uses that name, indeed I couldn't find anyone locally that had ever heard it used or knew of it. The name certainly doesn't appear on a name board so I assumed it was an Easter egg and ignored it. Now it seems it really is called Swanland Dale, so I'll change OSM to use this name and a couple of others like Tom Potts Row and Stonepit Lane.