Every county in the UK has its own set of local records – its highest point, its oldest church, its largest stadium and so on. At first sight these may seem to be of only local interest, a passing acquaintance for those who live or work in the county, or perhaps for those who were born and raised there but now live elsewhere. For many of our counties, though, one or more of those local records is also a national record or a UK record – and in some cases a world record. Even the smallest counties can have significant claims to fame, therefore, with their own record places attracting interest and visitors from much further afield.
An example is the historic county of Caithness in northern Scotland, now part of Highland region but still a registration and lieutenancy (i.e. ceremonial) county. Despite being only the 81st largest county in the UK by population (only 26000 people live in Caithness), the county boasts four county records that are also national records for Scotland and also for the UK. Two of these records come as no great surprise as they are the result of Caithness’ northern location in the UK – Dunnet Head, 10km North east of Thurso, is the northernmost point on the mainland of Great Britain, while the village of Skarfskerry, 5km east of Dunnet Head, is the northernmost settlement of the island of Great Britain. But Caithness has two other UK records which are less obvious, with one being a ‘largest’ and one being a ‘smallest’ record. The ‘largest’ is the Caithness and Sutherland peatlands, known as The Flow Country, which cover 143,503ha and are the largest wetland area in the UK. This bleak and wet plateau of peat and bog is of international significance because of its distinct flora and fauna, and covers most of the west of the county between the A897 and A9 trunk roads. The ‘smallest’ record is much more quirky, for the town of Wick possesses the shortest street in the UK. Ebenezer Place, which is just 2.06m long, is claimed by The Guinness Book of Records to be the shortest street in the world. Ebenezer Place, built in 1883, has just one door (No 1) which is the entrance to a restaurant.
Larger than Caithness in population, the county of Derbyshire also demonstrates how national and international records are found in almost every one of our counties. Several of Derbyshire’s county records are national records, too, and these include, amongst others….
* the northernmost prehistoric cave paintings in Europe, at Cresswell Crags on the Derbyshire / Nottinghamshire border, 5km north east of Worksop
*the longest disused railway tunnel in the UK (Woodhead (New) Tunnel), near Glossop in the north west of the county, which is 4.86km long but was closed in 1981,
*the location in the UK which is furthest from the sea –Church Flatts Farm near Coton-in-the-Elms, 7km south west of Swadlincote, is 113km from the nearest coast in Lincolnshire and Cheshire
*the ‘Centre of England’ at Morton, 5km north of Alfreton, which is midway along England’s longest North-South axis and midway between the east coast and the Welsh coast
So, almost every county has a claim to a national record of some sort. What national records does your own county hold?
The Record Locations
Use the Grid References below to locate them on a map at www.streetmap.co.uk
The Northernmost Point on the island of Great Britain
Dunnet Head, 10km North east of Thurso ND20737619
The Northernmost Settlement on the mainland of Great Britain
Skarfskerry, 5km east of Dunnet Head ND27477420
The Largest Wetland in the UK
143,503ha The Caithness and Sutherland peatlands, known as The Flow Country ND21104500
The Shortest Street in the World
2.06m Ebenezer Place, Wick ND36245083
The Northernmost Prehistoric Cave Paintings in Europe,
Cresswell Crags on the Derbyshire /Nottinghamshire border, 5km north east of Worksop SK53507420
The Longest Disused Railway Tunnel in the UK
4.86km long. Woodhead (New) Tunnel, near Glossop in north west Derbyshire, closed in 1981 SK11149998
The Location in the UK Furthest from the Sea
Church Flatts Farm near Coton-in-the-Elms, 7km SW of Swadlincote, Derbyshire, is 113km from the coast in Lincolnshire and Cheshire SK25311454
The ‘Centre of England’
Morton, 5km north of Alfreton,Derbyshire, is midway along England’s longest North-South axis (Berwick-upon-Tweed to Poole) and midway between the east coast of England and the Welsh coast SK40806011
The Must Get Out More Question !
Where is the largest living thing in the UK?
The Answer to the Last Question
Where is the deepest freshwater lake in the United Kingdom?
Loch Morar, which lies 7km south east of Mallaig in the Lochaber District of Highland Region in Scotland (in the historic county of Inverness-shire) is the deepest freshwater lake in the UK, with a maximum depth of 310m (NM76709029).