Saturday, 17 January 2015

"The wood that local people call Fagley Wood"

I was looking at the Google map of where I grew up, and was somewhat perturbed to see that what we all referred to as Fagley Wood or Fagley Woods is three separate woods, called called Bill Wood, Round Wood and Ravenscliffe Wood.

So Fagley Wood as such does not exist but everybody calls it that. I think that most people add the "s" to "Wood" because clearly the whole wood can be divided into three smaller areas, which are nonetheless contiguous. Notwithstanding that Fagley Wood is a daft name for it, because Fagley proper is way off the southern end, why on earth did they bother thinking up new official names?

Which reminds me that my Dad once wrote to the Ordnance Survey people to point out that their map had swapped over the names of two hills up north somewhere (I can't remember where they are or what they are called). So what local people called Hill A was labelled Hill B on the OS map and vice versa. The OS wrote back and told my Dad that it was the local people who had got the names the wrong way round, and they had no intention of changing their map.

All most puzzling.


Bayard said...

A few years ago the Highways Agency thought it would be a good idea to put the names of all the trunk road junctions on the relevant signs, however, like the OS, it didn't seem to bother to ask the locals what they called the junction, but simply made up a name.

Lysistrata said...

Ah, I now know exactly where you lived Mark! Still some lovely green areas in West Yorkshire, very near to urban areas.
A contrasting OS story - have several times over the years had OS people knock on door to ask what different bits of the neighbourhood were called locally, where I thought 'x' settlement began and 'y' ended and so on.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, if it's a brand new junction on a brand new road, then that's a bit of a dilemma. But otherwise, they ought to just canvas the locals and let them think up a name.

L, there are some legitimate differences of opinion on spelling e.g. Lea River or Lee River in east London. I'm talking about completely different names.

James Higham said...

Perhaps it was wistful remembrance of intimacy with the fags at school?

Lola said...

I didn't realise you were a golfist..

A K Haart said...

Maybe the OS guys who made the decision were Bill Round and Bill Ravenscliffe.

Mark Wadsworth said...

JH, that's a coincidence, there's an area further south called Fagley.

L, I am not a golfist, I do not play golf and am neither pro- nor -anti-golf.

AKH, nope. The large council estate to the west of the remaining woods and which was built in the 1930s was christened "Ravenscliffe' which is a made-up name.

Presumably because the existing area to the west of that was called "Eccleshill" i.e. "Eagle's Hill", and Ravenscliffe is a bit further down the hill.

Bayard said...

"The large council estate to the west of the remaining woods and which was built in the 1930s was christened 'Ravenscliffe' which is a made-up name."

The wood is called "Ravenscliffe Wood" on the 1851 map, so the council estate was called after the wood. The other two woods are also called Round and Bill and they all appear to be the same size as now. I suspect they are called "Fagley Woods" because the stream that runs through them is called the "Fagley Beck".

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, in that case I stand corrected. I always assumed it was a made up name.


a) where did you get the 1851 map from?

b) I assume that people called them "Fagley Woods" back in 1851 as well, in which case, does the map prove anything?

Bayard said...

Great website.

b) Possibly, but not necessarily, there being a lot more "locals" now than then. Also the access to the woods along the footpath is either from the north or from the south, at Lower Fagley.

Woodhall Road is a bit of a puzzle. With its lack of metalling, sweeping curves and embankments, it looks like a disused railway line, but a glance at the 1893 map shows that it was always a road. A failed Victorian development perhaps?

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, ta for link.

b) No, the woods can be accessed from just about all sides IIRC.

c) No, Woodhall Road was never a railway, it goes up a fairly steep hill. The railway pre-Beeching was along the valley to the north of Calverley.