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Using Google Maps to plan walks


For the last three or four years I have done most of my exploring in the same five woods. Although they are great woods to find bones and watch deer and other animals, they were starting to get a bit boring, so this year I have been trying to find new woods to explore near my house.

I have a customised 1:25,000 scale Ordnance Survey map which is centred on my house, which is amazing and shows all sorts of details. But for exploring in forests, you need satellite pictures as well. Here is why:

The map shows some of the paths in the woods, and it looks like enough to plan a walk, but when you look at Google Maps there are a lot more shown:

 But the satellite picture makes it look flat but on the map you can see the contour lines which show it is on a steep hill.

Here are some of the things I have discovered near my house using Google Maps:

The hidden mansion

This is the mansion I wrote about here. It is hidden away in a wood well away from a road. It is shown on a map, but the satellite picture shows it had no roof on it so no-one was living there anymore.

This is what it looked like in real life. It was massive ! You can see me at the far left to see how big it is.

The mysterious arrows

There are two of these on a hillside near my house. You can see them on the satellite pictures and on the map too. They actually confused historians for ages who thought they were ancient and couldn't work out what they were used for. But they were used to give bomber pilots directions to a bombing range used for practice near my house during world war II.

The ruined farmhouse

This something I found that we planned a walk around. There are loads of ruined farmhouses near us, but this one had an amazing view for miles.

This is what it looked like in real life. I walked there two weeks ago and found lots of sheep skulls.

The weird looking circle

This is near one of the woods I walk in a lot. It is actually the top of a water reservoir !

The strange wall

This was the walk I was on when I found the old world war II bomb. I couldn't work out what it was from the aerial photo so had to find it myself because it wasn't on a map either.

It was an old dam for a lake which was now drained:

The line through the woods

This was strange because it was a straight line across three different woods. No trees had grown there. I only found out what it was because of a valley which showed it was a water pipe buried under the ground. No trees were allowed to grow there in case the roots damaged the pipe or if the pipe had to be dug up.

The strange squares

This was really weird because it was squares in the middle of a loch. I walked up there last weekend to see what they were.

It was a fish farm where baby fish are produced ! The squares were where they keep the fish in.

That was definitely the strangest one !

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jordan said...

A Fish Farm.I'v never heard of it.
So you say maps are better...interesting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jake said...

Hi Jordan,

You need both. Maps for contour lines and names, and satellite pictures for details and forest paths.

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