Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Fours – Introduction

The only list taking in hills of England that I have compiled is detailed below.  However, it is hoped that others will be produced in the future.

The English 400m P30 list now known as ‘The Fours’ was part of a tripartite group of lists I compiled and made publicly available between 2000 - 2002.  The original list was named ‘The English 400m Peaks’ and was made available by Rob Woodall to the rhb Yahoo Group as part of a database version of 400m hills of England, Isle of Man and Wales  The remaining two listings of the tripartite were the Welsh and the Irish equivalent.  The former was published on Geoff Crowder’s ‘Backpacking in Britain’ website; as well as the aforementioned database version made available by Rob.  This listing to ‘The Welsh 400m Peaks’ is now known as ‘Y Pedwarau’ and has been fully updated and published by Europeaklist in May 2013.  ‘The Irish 400m Peaks’ listing was sent to the Irish Mountaineering Council (later to become Mountaineering Ireland) and was later published by the MountainViews website as ‘The Carns’.

The process of compiling ‘The English 400m Peaks’ and then having the list made available took on four stages.  Stage one consisted of a rough draft where after map study, the essentials of area, hill group, map number, height, name and grid reference were documented. 

Stage 1:  A sample page from the first rough draft which would eventually become the list of 'The English 400m Peaks'.

The next stage was to write these details out in a neater and more ordered way.  It was this version that was sent to Rob Woodall who made it available to the rhb Yahoo Group.  Both of these stages consisted of a P30 list and a P20 sub-list.  

Stage 2:  The details of each hill group was then neatly written out, it was this version that was sent to Rob Woodall, who then input the details on the rhb Yahoo Group file database.

The neater and more ordered version was later converted to a detailed hand written document that included a drop value, but still no National Grid Letters.  It was this third version that I maintained as the ‘Master List’ adding the drop value and any further inclusions.  

Stage 3:  Drop values and other detail was only added later.  This version became the Master List and was used for any updates.

Stage four was the published version on the rhb Yahoo Group.  The published version was then added to by data supplied by the late E. D. ‘Clem’ Clements.

Rob sent me a printed version of the file on the rhb Yahoo Group database.  Although Rob wasn't in receipt of 'T'he Irish 400m Peaks' list, its total is mentioned top right of photo.

It was the rhb Yahoo Group version of this list that formed the basis for this section of Mark Jackson’s ‘TuMPs’ list. The TuMPs stand for ‘Thirty & Upward Metre Prominences’ and contains the hills of Britain with 30m or more of relative height.  The TuMps list was a huge undertaking and took in work produced by many different people over several years; please see accompanying link for more details

The opportunity to fully re-evaluate the list now known as ‘The Fours’ came in to being in 2013 after Europeaklist had published ‘Y Pedwarau’.  The process of compiling this latest version was very different from its original, as nowadays there are a plethora of on-line maps available that can give old levelled heights, bench mark heights and spot heights that are not available on the 1:50,000 Landranger and the 1:25,000 Explorer paper maps produced by the Ordnance Survey.  All of the maps giving this extra detail were examined during the compilation of ‘The Fours’.

The process of compiling ‘The Fours’ and then having the list published by Eurpeaklist took on a number of stages, the first stage consisted of producing a detailed rough draft of all qualifying P30’s as well as all sub-hills. 

To produce the updated list known as 'The Fours' all available on-line maps were checked, and when combined with the Master List from its original inception of 'The English 400m Peaks', a detailed rough draft was produced that would form the basis for the next stage of typing the list and accompanying notes into a spreadsheet and Word document.

This and the ‘Master List’ from ‘The English 400m Peaks’ formed the basis for the next stage of compilation.  This next stage consisted of typing all data and accompanying Notes in to a Master Spreadsheet and Master Notes which is the standard template used by Mark Trengove, the Editor and Publisher at Europeaklist for such publications.  Once this stage was complete the Master Spreadsheet was sent to Aled Williams for place-name evaluation.

Aled Williams:  Place-name research.

"As work on the 'Y Pedwarau' booklet neared completion, it became apparent that a project involving the listing of equivalent hills in England would shortly commence. With this in mind, my continuing research concerning the upland place-names of Wales took a logical course towards the English border. Of course, hills are not restricted by the strict definitions of borders and boundaries, and the ridges of mountains such as Cilfaesty naturally extend into England. The hills found within the Clun Forest were once a part of Wales and over the centuries the English and Welsh languages have played a game of 'cat and mouse' with each other. This has resulted in a fascinating mix of language and culture, which is clearly emphasised by place names. One can hardly fail to notice odd-looking names to English hills such as Long Mynd, Heath Mynd, Cefn Gunthly, Caer Caradoc, Cwm Sanaham Hill, Bryn Hill or Hergan. Conversely, we have the Welsh hills of Long Mountain, Great Rhos, Tylcau Hill, Cnwch Bank or Lord Hereford's Knob.

During the summer of 2013 I began contacting local people in Shropshire, Herefordshire and Sir Faesyfed/Radnorshire in relation to the hill names found in these counties. At the same time I sifted through the majority of the published Ordnance Survey material, as well as other maps and historical documents, in order to build up a wealth of toponymic data. As Myrddyn completed the numerical backbone of the 'Fours' list, I then assessed each hill for an appropriate name. Many hills that were found to be nameless on the OS maps were provided with locally known names, such as The Cold Piece for the c400m hill at SO 338 996 or Stoney Pound Hill for the 437m hill at SO 234 808. In addition to this new information, details on alternative hill names were recorded within accompanying notes.

The hills of south-east England were also given tender loving care in terms of name selection, although no local research was invested in this case. Maps and documents were studied and sometimes this process resulted in names for seemingly nameless hills, for example, I was confident in assigning Swell Tor as the name to the c403m hill at SX 559 733 from descriptions found in the 1836 book 'A Description of the Part of Devonshire Bordering on the Tamar and the Tavy' by A.E. Bray. A name where uncertainty existed in geographical placement was not used and such hills are identified in 'The Fours' by the 'Pt. Height' notation; a system also adopted in the 'Y Pedwarau' booklet. This is important, as upon publication a list of hills becomes a historical document, and careless name assignment will result in much future confusion and distortion of the facts. Name compilation is not an easy task and one has to work within the confines of the information available."  

When Aled completed his place-name evaluation any required alteration was added in to the Master Spreadsheet and Master Notes.  Once completed this was sent to Mark, who now took over the process of converting the Master Spreadsheet and Master Notes to the final Europeaklist booklet ‘The Fours’.

A sample page from 'The Fours' booklet published by Europeaklist.

The listing of Fours comprise all the summits in England that are 400 metres or greater, but less than 500 metres in height, and which have at least 30 metres of drop.  There are 296 such hills with an additional 225 sub-hills also listed which are between 20m – 29m of drop and / or 390m and 399m of height.

‘The Fours’ is available as an e-booklet version and a print-booklet version with or without accompanying photographs on the Europeaklist website.  

'The Fours' is also available for GPS Waypoints, Google mapping and on-line hill bagging tick lists on the Haroldstreet website.

The Fours:


Double Sub-Fours:

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