Welsh hillwalker discovers English border with Wales wrongly marked

Welsh hillwalker discovers English border with Wales wrongly marked

Welsh hillwalker discovers English border with Wales has been wrongly marked for decades and England is 1.8 million square feet bigger than mapmakers thoughtMyrddyn Phillips said the line separating the two countries is marked incorrectlyThe current border follows the natural watershed from summit of Twyn LlechMr Phillips remeasured mountain and found it to be further…


Welsh hillwalker discovers English border with Wales has been wrongly marked for decades and England is 1.8 million square feet bigger than mapmakers thought

  • Myrddyn Phillips said the line separating the two countries is marked incorrectly
  • The current border follows the natural watershed from summit of Twyn Llech
  • Mr Phillips remeasured mountain and found it to be further west than thought 
  • No legal mechanism for reviewing the boundary between England and Wales

A Welsh hillwalker has discovered that the border between England and Wales has been incorrectly marked for decades – and that England should be given more land.

Myrddyn Phillips said the line separating the two countries in the Black Mountains has been wrongly traced on the Ordnance Survey maps.

The current border follows the natural watershed from the summit of the mountain called Twyn Llech.

But intrepid Mr Phillips and his hill-walking friend Mark Trengove have remeasured the summit of the 2,308ft mountain – and found it to be further west than is thought.

Myrddyn Phillips (pictured) said the line separating the two countries in the Black Mountains has been wrongly traced on the Ordnance Survey maps

Myrddyn Phillips (pictured) said the line separating the two countries in the Black Mountains has been wrongly traced on the Ordnance Survey maps

Mr Phillips and his hill-walking friend Mark Trengove have remeasured the summit of the 2,308ft mountain - and found it to be further west than is thought

Mr Phillips and his hill-walking friend Mark Trengove have remeasured the summit of the 2,308ft mountain – and found it to be further west than is thought

The state-of-the art Global Navigation Satellite System surveying equipment and a hand-held GPS device with 1:50,000 scale mapping, the duo measured the peak of Twyn Llech 39ft into Powys, Wales

Mr Phillips used this hand-held GPS device to find the discrepancy

The state-of-the art Global Navigation Satellite System surveying equipment (pictured left) and a hand-held GPS device (pictured right) with 1:50,000 scale mapping, the duo measured the peak of Twyn Llech 39ft into Powys, Wales

Mr Phillips' picture shows where he believes the true summit of Twyn Llech lies, That means the England-Wales border should actually follow his straight dotted line down the middle of the image, rather than the wiggly border on the right which is currently marked on many maps

Mr Phillips’ picture shows where he believes the true summit of Twyn Llech lies, That means the England-Wales border should actually follow his straight dotted line down the middle of the image, rather than the wiggly border on the right which is currently marked on many maps

Using a state-of-the art Global Navigation Satellite System surveying equipment and a hand-held GPS device with 1:50,000 scale mapping, the duo measured the peak of Twyn Llech 39ft into Powys, Wales.

As a result the England/Wales border should be moved to line up with the new watershed of the mountain, claims Mr Phillips.

And since the ridge stretches for nine miles, there is 1,800,000sq ft of land that England is entitled to grab back from Wales.

This will be scant consolation to England after losing to Wales in the Six Nations rugby tournament two weeks ago.

But it is unlikely anything will be done to remap the nation because it will require new legislation.

The current border is shown on the blue dotted line. Mr Phillips says his work has revealed it is actually 39 feet further west into Wales - as shown on the red line

The current border is shown on the blue dotted line. Mr Phillips says his work has revealed it is actually 39 feet further west into Wales – as shown on the red line

Mr Phillips, 57, has supplied the national mapping agency Ordnance Survey with his finding but they say are not obliged to make any changes.

Mr Phillips, from Welshpool, mid Wales, said: ‘The word watershed has been retained against this border on Ordnance Survey mapping for over 130 years. Their 1887 map shows the border marked as ‘Watershed’.

The current border follows the natural watershed from the summit of the mountain called Twyn Llech - but Mr Phillips believes the summit is marked in the wrong place on maps

The current border follows the natural watershed from the summit of the mountain called Twyn Llech – but Mr Phillips believes the summit is marked in the wrong place on maps

‘I wanted confirmation if the border was on the watershed as their 1887 map shows.

‘If so the consensus of opinion amongst many hill-walkers is that, if the summit of the hill is in Wales, then the hill qualifies as a Welsh hill, and vice versa if the summit is in England.

‘The simple fact of the matter is that no one had ever surveyed this hill for where its summit is positioned.

‘Twyn Llech is a great bulk of a hill comprising grass and heather moorland with its high point thought to be at the southern periphery of its upper plateau.

‘Having been over the summit of Twyn Llech 18 times, I knew that the ridge path is close to the summit of the hill, but the high point is definitely to the west of the path.

The Hatterall Ridge, the border between England and Wales. Mr Phillips thinks the England/Wales border should be moved to line up with the new watershed of the Twyn Llech mountain

The Hatterall Ridge, the border between England and Wales. Mr Phillips thinks the England/Wales border should be moved to line up with the new watershed of the Twyn Llech mountain

‘Having taken a series of measurements on the summit area of Twyn Llech I finally pinpointed where the summit was positioned.

‘I contacted the Ordnance Survey and was advised that their placement of the border is 39 feet to the east of the new grid coordinates I supplied them for the summit of Twyn Llech.

‘The hill is neither just Welsh, nor just English. It is a dual national hill and the strip of land that many thought a part of Wales incorporating a part of this hill’s summit is in fact a part of England.

‘Therefore the border placement on the Ordnance Survey MasterMap, although very close to the summit, is still 12 metres (39ft) from it and can be thought of as being presumptive.

‘My conclusion from the research and survey I’ve conducted is that the border should be moved and placed on MasterMap going through the summit of Twyn Llech and that primary legislation should be initiated to instigate the mechanism required for such a change.’

A spokesman for the Ordnance Survey said its MasterMap – its most detailed mapping product – has the boundary down as correct.

He added: ‘The 1887 maps Mr Phillips has used are guidelines only, where the boundary is 15m (49ft) wide.

‘We are not obliged to put a boundary in but we do so as a guide. In our most detailed mapping product the border is located accurately and correctly.’

Matt Redmond, deputy chief executive of the Boundary Commission for Wales, said: ‘As far as the commission is concerned the Ordnance Survey MasterMap is the definitive boundary and it is fine.

‘We at the Commission are content with where the boundary is.

‘To make the changes that Mr Phillips would like to see would require primary legislation. There is no legal mechanism in place to change the boundary.’

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Welsh hillwalker discovers English border with Wales has been wrongly marked for decades

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