This post has two main purposes. The first is to highlight the often weird and wonderful place names of Great Britain, including the village of Trumpet in Herefordshire, recently visited by my colleague Philip Brown - hence the title. The second purpose is to show anyone who is interested how to filter and find them using freely available Ordnance Survey data and free GIS software (QGIS). I'll start with a little bit of information about the data, then some maps of interesting place names, and then at the bottom I'll share more for any aspiring data boffins who might not yet know how to do this. I use these kinds of datasets in my QGIS training sessions, so that's the real reason I've been playing around with this stuff lately.
The first step is to grab Ordnance Survey's OS Open Names dataset - a free download, available in several formats, and no registration required. There are nearly three million points in this dataset (2,952,321 as of the August 2021 file) and for each point we have the name of the feature in English, plus Gaelic or Welsh where applicable. You can read all about it in the official user guide, but for now all you need to know is that for each point there is a column which tells us whether it's a populated place, transport node, landform, some kind of landcover (e.g. a forest), hydrography (e.g. a loch) or 'other' (e.g. a primary school). For this little blog post, I filtered the data so it relates to populated places only, and this gets us a total of 43,120 places across Great Britain. This is how the places are broken down by type in the OS Open Names classification
- 65 City (e.g. Ely)
- 1,358 Town (e.g. Redcar)
- 2,826 Other Settlement (e.g. Lavernock)
- 10,844 Suburban Area (e.g. Niddrie)
- 12,873 Hamlet (e.g. The Shoe)
- 15,154 Village (e.g. Old Sodbury)
Maps of interesting place names
|Note 'London Apprentice'
|Lots of Saints
|The only exclamation in the nation
|Rhymes with scone
|Nicely lined up
|I detect a pattern
|England has cornered the market
|Such vital, vital work
|How much longer caan I go on?
|I thought this should go at the bottom
How to filter to find different places in QGIS
|This is using the OS Open Names points layer
|Lots of these are tiny, but they do exist