UK Ley-Line Map

maximus otter

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#3
Does anyone know of a detailed British ley line map? Someone I know says he's seen one which shows a ley line passes through his property...
Generate your own, it won't be difficult:

Simply push a pin into an OS map showing his address, then set the middle of a ruler against it. Now rotate the ruler about the pivot point of the pin until its edge touches two or more landscape features, e.g hilltops, wayside crosses, ancient churches etc.

Hey presto! The house is on a ley line! Now every time he loses his car keys...

Archaeological Theory: An Introduction

Eight-point alignment of pizza restaurants in London:



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ley_line#Criticism

maximus otter
 

Krepostnoi

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#5
Back in the day an erstwhile poster here tried to plot something similar to the Glastonbury Zodiac, but using an OS map of the Calder Valley, that being where he was based. In his words, it was a tongue-in-cheek endeavour, but to his amazement, he was able to locate all 12 signs.

I spoke to him about this some years later. The detail I remember most clearly, and that he found genuinely quite Fortean, was that the tip of that part of the Taurean anatomy which makes him unambiguously a bull coincided with a well.
 
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Steve Saker

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#6
Does anyone know of a detailed British ley line map? Someone I know says he's seen one which shows a ley line passes through his property and 'explains' some strange goings on locally.

I've had a bit of a Google but not found anything with much detail.

Thanks.

BB
Let me know if anything pops up! I've been looking as well :)
 
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#7
Back in the day an erstwhile poster here tried to plot something similar to the Glastonbury Zodiac, but using an OS map of the Calder Valley, that being where he was based. In his words, it was a tongue-in-cheek endeavour, but to his amazement, he was able to locate all 12 signs.
As I understand it, the area of said zodiac was mostly under tidal marshes when it was allegedly constructed.

Ley Lines:

I wrote a program in the 1980's to find 'ley-lines'. Specifically, it allowed one to input the map references of 'points of interest' on a 1:50000 map and then search then entire entry list for alignments. It took every possible pair or points, plotted a straight line and worked out the perpendicular distance of every other point from the line. More than '3' counted as a 'ley' (I wrote to Tom Graves and he sent me a nice letter with some good advice.)

The program allowed for the relative sizes of objects and so calculated a line from one side of object 'a' to the other side of object 'b'. Both lines were then cross check against all the other entries. It allowed allowed for the identification of the point (say 'tumulus' or 'church'), and also worked with large earthworks. The program allowed you to exclude two sorts of features from a calculation. So leave out 'churches' for example.

The 'leys' were logged, saved and plotted on the screen. The program then took the original data, scattered all the points randomly within a 10/20/50/100 yard radius (user selectable) and re-calculated. This was done 10/20/50 times (user selectable) and then the 'real' map data aligments were compared with averaged findings of the total set of randomised runs. How many alignments of what length and so on. The program could run randomised sets of data on any 'map' file and add them to any previous randomised runs, so I could build up a lot of random data sets' alignments.

I manually digitised 10 x 1:50,00 maps. In none of them did the alignments found exceed randomised data. The only 'positive' result was that 'the more points you had, the more leys the program found'. But the randomised data always found about the same.

I tweaked the program and used the nominal centre of 'features' and various 'ley' widths and got the same results.

The result were duplicated using 'non mysterious' map features, like post offices and trig points. In other words, even without the use statistics it was clear that alignments were no more than chance and no more likely than any set of points taken from the maps. I used maps from Scotland, Cornwall and even the Stonehenge area.

Not bad for an Amstrad CPC6128 (admittedly running overnight for some weeks).

At this time it dawned on me 'ley lines' might be madey-uppy.
 
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#9
There are no such things as ley lines :p

And no mention of them ever before 1925. Odd for such supposed ancient antiquities.
Alfred Watkins original book actually proposed a series of tracks, that is actual roads, rather than mystical energy lines. Inasmuch that there was an iron-age road or trail system, it was a decent enough guess.
 

Coastaljames

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#10
Alfred Watkins original book actually proposed a series of tracks, that is actual roads, rather than mystical energy lines. Inasmuch that there was an iron-age road or trail system, it was a decent enough guess.
True enough. But it was the first book to propose the idea of "ley" lines, and document them.
 
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#13
Yes, I'd agree. But...as I said - he was the first to propose the concept of "ley lines" as ancient mystical lines of energy. That's in writing.
"The Ley Hunters Manual" has nothing about 'mystical lines of energy' in it. Does he propose that in one of his other books?
 

EnolaGaia

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#15
Yes, I'd agree. But...as I said - he was the first to propose the concept of "ley lines" as ancient mystical lines of energy. That's in writing.
Where in Watkins' books did he ever attribute energy transmission / flow to ley lines?

It's been 30 years (and more) since I read Watkins' books, and I don't recall any such claims. My readings at the time left me with the clear conclusion the energy flow (etc.) angle didn't get appended to Watkins' work until (e.g.) John Michell cross-linked it to (e.g.) feng shui.
 

Coastaljames

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#16
I may well be wrong and you may well be right! And there may be a certain semantics at play. It's been nigh on 30 years since I read it myself! Cheers.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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#18
This map shows some of the Alesia/Alaise variant place name alignments extending well beyond France.
The speculation is that the name derives from the proto-indo-european word alès, meaning a meeting place.

PSX_20180911_115043.jpg
 

bakelite brain

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#21
If we assume leylines exist (and where's the evidence?) how wide are they? A few tens of yards makes all the difference. Many leylines look quite impressive on an OS map, with four, five, six or more appropriate markers all seemingly along the pencil line. Until you examine the 'alignment' on Google Earth...
 

chicorea

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#22
The "hub" of all the alignments is the very ancient town of Alaise. An earlier spelling was Alèse.
Well, Alèse couldn't be a town : it's the name of a cover we use over the bed. Alès is a town in Cevénnes, in Département du Gard, remarkable for being.... unremarkable. There is very few about its history during Roman times (it's considered as an oppidium, so a small town in the main Roman roads) or Middle Ages. It was a Protestant fortress during the Religious Wars and it suffered a siege because of it. Otherwise, nothing that seems specially energetic.

I'm familiar with the Louvre/Tuilleries axe and La Défense and I can attest that the energies there are kinda palpable on this places. But, then again, it is, as much as, on other places in the Parisian region, not necessarily over the same axe.

I suspect that ley lines alone can't be the only source of what "energises" a place, a town, a monument.

By the way, the lines over the map made me think almost immediately of the vintage Orthotenies, proposed by Jacques Valée for proving statistically the reality of UFO sightings. Interesting how some patterns keep coming back...
 
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#26
There are claims of Europe-spanning leys, originating in France, with alignments of some 400 place names which are variations of the ancient Celto-Gallic name Alesia/Alaise...
I recently bought Graham Robb's book, The Ancient Paths. I picked it up as part of a three for two offer and really hadn't thoroughly taken on board what it was about. I kind of gave up on things joining up in straight lines at about the same time I did on Top Trumps, and, to be honest, I think I may well have walked away had I known a bit more - but I'm glad I picked it up because, even if it turns out to be complete bobbins, it's a really interesting read.

It gets great reviews from some very respectable, albeit non-specialist, sources - however, archaeologists and historians are notably absent.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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#27
How do such alignments take account of the earth's curvature?
Again, if you read the article, he touches on the significance of the Earth's circumference. As, however, these alignments are parts of a great circle route, the Earth's curvature has no more bearing than it does for the line of the equator.
 

Mikefule

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#29
[Minor edits: correcting open/closed quotes for clarity. No changes to the wording.]

I remember falling victim to the ley hunting bug as a teenager and again in my 20s. I was excited to "discover" that Southwell Minster (near to where I live) is "on a ley line".

However...

The original idea of the ley line was no more than "the old straight track". Alfred Watkins' initial concept was a network of rectilinear transport routes across the countryside, joining landmarks.

Watkins came up with the name "ley", allegedly because he noticed an association with place names ending in "ley". As that is a common ending, meaning "lea" ("meadow") he may as well have called them "ton lines" or "ham lines" or "thorpe lines".

It was soon realised that the straight tracks that Watkins had postulated would not be practical routes because they sometimes did things like crossing marshes and wide rivers and going up steep cliffs. Real walking routes tend meander as they follow ridges, valleys and contours and use shallow crossings of rivers.

Rather than dropping the idea as obviously silly, people scratched around looking for an alternative "explanation" for this completely illusory phenomenon. They postulated some ancient lost wisdom, and some ill-defined primordial force. Later this became associated in some people's minds with disparate ideas such as acupuncture: menhirs as acupuncture needles to cure the Earth, blah blah.

Aside: I remember going to Arbor Low in Derbyshire and seeing two things at the same time: the farmer's daughter on a quad bike riding around the inside of the ancient earth bank as if it were a wall of death, and a couple of harmless eccentrics dangling pendulums (pendula?) over the stones. I swear I heard one of them shout to his companion words to the effect, "I've found a nexus of primeval force."

Back onto my own straight track: I read a number of books on leys at the time (the word "line" had largely been dropped by then) and there were various pseudo statistical ways of calculating the lines. A church was worth 3 points, a standing stone worth 4, a cross roads 2, and so on. (I made up these numerical values for the sake of illustration.) A quick review of the list showed that things like "a straight section of road" or "a distinctive hill top" were also on the list.

Given enough random and unrelated items like that, it will always be possible to find alignments that add up to some arbitrary threshold number. However, a little thought shows that these are not completely random and unrelated items. It is common for a road to head in a straight line towards a major church. Cross roads are always on roads, some of which have straight sections. A standing stone or church may be on a distinctive hilltop. A church may be built on an earlier religious site. And so on.

On the other hand, items that appear at first glance to be related, such as "earthworks" may be separated in age by 3,000 years and be from different cultures and belief systems. Of four "ancient earthworks", one may be defensive, one funerary, one agricultural, and one ritual.

Any two points will always be in a straight line relative to each other. The chance that a third random point is within a degree either side of that line is 1/180. That's not rare. if I had a 1/180chance of being knocked off my motorbike every ride, I would not ride it.

The chance of a fourth point being within 1 degree of the same line is also 1/180, so the chance of points 3 and 4 both being within a degree of the line between points 1 and 2 is 1/(180*180) which is 1/32,400 which is a small chance.

However, if you allow yourself the freedom to look for any and all possible alignments, then the more random points you have, the more alignments you will find, because every pair of points is a new line that a third or fourth point may also be on. It's like the thing with birthdays: the chance of a single random stranger having the same birthday as you is around 1/365, but if you have 50 people in the room, it is extremely likely that two of them will have the same birthday as each other.

The clever thing is, don't count all the things that are not aligned. "I looked at 20 sites and found 6 alignments of 3," is more impressive than, "Out of 190 pairs of points, I found 6 cases where a third point was in line."

Of course, this does not preclude the possibility that some ancient sites were deliberately aligned with each other. Items of a similar age, or built in obvious succession for related purposes may well be aligned. That is a natural human urge to be orderly. Whether or not the "wise ancients" believed in any force flowing along those lines, there is no evidence that such a force exists.

Ley lines: fun, interesting, but a barmy idea.
 
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