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Redrawing the Welsh border

Created on 07/03/2019 @ 10:32
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Wars have been fought and blood spilled over smaller pieces of land, but a Welshpool man believes that England is entitled to up to 1.8 million square feet of Welsh territory.

Myrddyn Phillips is well known for his precision surveying work which has resulted in mountains being reclassified as hills in the past.

But his latest findings, covered extensively by the London-based national media this week, have raised a few eye brows as he believes it shows the Wales/England border has been wrongly positioned up to 40ft to the east for nine miles.

Myrddyn said the line separating the two countries in the Black Mountains, south Powys, has been wrongly traced on the Ordnance Survey maps, with the current border following the natural watershed from the summit of the mountain called Twyn Llech.

But intrepid Mr Phillips and his hill-walking friend Mark Trengove have remeasured the summit of the 2,308ft mountain - and found it to be further west than is thought.

Using a state-of-the art Global Navigation Satellite System surveying equipment and a hand-held GPS device with 1:50,000 scale mapping, the duo measured the peak of Twyn Llech 39ft into Powys.

As a result, the England/Wales border should be moved to line up with the new watershed of the mountain, claims Myrddyn.

And since the ridge stretches for nine miles, there is 1.8m sq ft of land that England is entitled to grab back from Wales. But it is unlikely anything will be done to remap the nation because it will require new legislation.

Myrddyn, 57, has supplied the national mapping agency, Ordnance Survey, with his finding but they say are not obliged to make any changes.

“The word watershed has been retained against this border on Ordnance Survey mapping for over 130 years. Their 1887 map shows the border marked as 'Watershed',” said Myrddyn.

“I wanted confirmation if the border was on the watershed as their 1887 map shows. If so the consensus of opinion among many hill-walkers is that, if the summit of the hill is in Wales, then the hill qualifies as a Welsh hill, and vice versa if the summit is in England.

“The simple fact of the matter is that no one had ever surveyed this hill for where its summit is positioned.

“Twyn Llech is a great bulk of a hill comprising grass and heather moorland with its high point thought to be at the southern periphery of its upper plateau. Having been over the summit of Twyn Llech 18 times, I knew that the ridge path is close to the summit of the hill, but the high point is definitely to the west of the path.

“Having taken a series of measurements on the summit area of Twyn Llech, I finally pinpointed where the summit was positioned.

“I contacted the Ordnance Survey and was advised that their placement of the border is 39 feet to the east of the new grid coordinates I supplied them for the summit of Twyn Llech.

“The hill is neither just Welsh, nor just English. It is a dual national hill and the strip of land that many thought a part of Wales incorporating a part of this hill’s summit is in fact a part of England.

“Therefore the border placement on the Ordnance Survey MasterMap, although very close to the summit, is still 12 metres (39ft) from it and can be thought of as being presumptive.

“My conclusion from the research and survey I've conducted is that the border should be moved and placed on MasterMap going through the summit of Twyn Llech and that primary legislation should be initiated to instigate the mechanism required for such a change.”

A spokesman for the Ordnance Survey told the Daily Mail its MasterMap - its most detailed mapping product - has the boundary down as correct.

He added: “The 1887 maps Mr Phillips has used are guidelines only, where the boundary is 15m (49ft) wide.

“We are not obliged to put a boundary in but we do so as a guide. In our most detailed mapping product the border is located accurately and correctly.”

Matt Redmond, deputy chief executive of the Boundary Commission for Wales, also told The Daily Mail: “As far as the commission is concerned the Ordnance Survey MasterMap is the definitive boundary and it is fine. We at the Commission are content with where the boundary is.

“To make the changes that Mr Phillips would like to see would require primary legislation. There is no legal mechanism in place to change the boundary.”

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