No, it’s not a long disused railway line or a fictitious shipping company from a long-forgotten television drama series. The Bryson Line is the name given to a theoretical line identified by the well- known author Bill Bryson in his book “The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes From A Small Island”, published in 2015. It is defined as the longest straight line on the island of Great Britain that doesn’t cross the sea or an estuary, and it runs from Cape Wrath in the north west of Scotland to the coastal town of Bognor Regis in southern England. The straight line length of The Bryson Line is 916km (569 miles), although travelling by road from Cape Wrath Lighthouse (Grid Reference NC260748) to Bognor Regis Pier (Grid Reference SZ933987) is of course much longer – a distance of 1163km (723 miles) in fact. The novelty of The Bryson Line is already attracting enthusiasts to trace and walk the line as closely as possible for its total length!
Although strictly speaking of course, there is only one ‘Bryson Line’, every country, island and county has its equivalent – the longest distance that can be travelled on land within that area. The end points of such a line indicate the furthest apart that people can be living yet still be in the same county or country. So where does the Bryson Line run in each of the home countries, where does it start and finish, and how long is it? And where, of course, is the longest county Bryson Line in the UK? Let’s have a look at some of the answers.
England The Bryson Line for England runs between Winterton-on-Sea, on the east coast of Norfolk north of Great Yarmouth, and Bosistow Cliff, south of Lands End in Cornwall, a distance of 593km (368 miles) (Grid References TG49651954 to SW35602318)
Scotland The Bryson Line for Scotland runs from Cape Wrath, in Sutherland, like its Great Britain namesake, but then reaches the Scottish border south of Gretna Green in Dumfries and Galloway, a distance of 422km (262 miles) (Grid References NC26007480 to NY31736612). This is slightly longer than the section of the GB Bryson Line within Scotland as that line has to pass some way east of Gretna Green to avoid crossing the sea of the Solway Firth on its route southwards.
Wales The Wales Bryson Line runs between the England/Wales border north of Connah’s Quay, in Flintshire, and Flimston Down, south west of Pembroke in Dyfed, a distance of 226km (140 miles) (Grid References SJ30647331 to SR91739437).
Northern Ireland. The Bryson Line for Northern Ireland runs from the Irish border on the Bradoge River, 3km WSW of Belleek in Co Fermanagh to Killard Point on the east coast of Co Down, 5km E of Downpatrick, a distance of 172km (107 miles) (Grid References NV00212562 to SB70089703).
Closer to home, the counties which have the longest ‘Bryson Lines’ are, of course, some of the largest counties in the UK.
In Scotland (and the UK), the county with the longest Bryson Line is Argyll and Bute, in western Scotland – the line stretches 161km (100 miles) south to north from the Mull of Kintyre at Sron Uamha to the shores of Loch Leven just north of Glencoe Village (Grid References NR61270589 to NN10416004).
In England, North Yorkshire is the county with the longest Bryson Line. The Line stretches east to west from Filey Brigg on the North Sea coast north of Filey to a point south west of Burton-in-Lonsdale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, a distance of 149km (93 miles) (Grid References TA12668173 to SD63217026).
In Wales Powys has the longest Bryson Line, running south west for 133 km (83 miles) from the village of Llechrydau. south of Llangollen, to Farteg Hill, just south east of the town of Ystradgynlais (Grid References SJ22433404 to SN77650783).
So, how long is the Bryson Line for your own home county and where are its two end points? How far apart can people be and still be living in your county? In Greater London, for example, the residents of south west Hillingdon Borough, close to J14 of the M25 near to Heathrow Airport, live 59km (36 miles) away from the residents of North Ockendon in Havering Borough (Grid References TQ03697538 to TQ61998527).
The Must Get Out More Question !
Where is the highest pub in the UK?
The Answer to the Last Question
What is the longest road in Wales?
The longest A class road that is completely within Wales is the A470 Cardiff to Llandudno road. Its length is 299km (186 miles). The straight line distance between its start point outside the Millenium Centre on Cardiff Bay (Grid Reference ST19257470) and its end point on the sea front at Llandudno (Grid Reference SH78648226) is 211.49km (131.41 miles).
The Record Locations
You can use the Grid References provided to locate record locations on a map at www.streetmap.co.uk