Northamptonshire County Council's Online Mapping Service is more that just a tool for finding County Council services and statistics. It is full of features that help us discover more about our communities, our environment and our history.
When you vist the page, boxes at the top right of the map allow you to select the "Standard (OS)" view, "Aerial", "Historic" or "Basic" view.
The coverage for the Historic Maps is quite patchy so let's mention in passing that the National Library of Scotland also has a collection of old OS Maps of England (zoom in to Northamptonshire). It's free to browse and, generally (see the website for details and condtitions), to copy for personal and non-commercial use. The background to this page, for example, is from a 1961 OS Map reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
Back on the NCC page there's a grey menu bar above the map and an "Add Feature/Place" link which is packed with possibilites. There's so much here that it's not feasible to detail it all in a short article so here's a few highlights - there's much more for you to explore when you get there.
Politics and Places
Select the ⊞ symbol alongside "Council and Democracy" to find details about your Parish, Ward, County Councillor, Constituency and so on. It has to be said that some information here seems to be missing at times - "click for your County Councillor" was not working at the time of writing, for example.
Parish boundaries are clearly available and might surprise you. Villagers tend to assume that their Parish begins at the street signs or is bounded by major roads and similar obvious features that we see now. But parish boundaries were established between the 10th and 14th Centuries, sometimes following minor channels of a river that were later allowed to silt up and long before today's dual carriageways cut across the landscape, though there have been modern revisions.
Further down the side menu, the "Environment and Planning" section shows you not just the Recycling Centres and whether your home is at risk from Floods but also, under "Habitats", where to find the likes of Reedbeds, Wet Woodland and pockets of Lowland Fen to track down the wildlife you love to photograph.
If you are exploring the countryside, you will need the all-important Definitive Map to check where access is permitted. Find it under "Transport and Streets" > "Public Right of Way".
Near the bottom of the "Add Feature/Place" options is "Heritage". Select the ⊞ symbol to view
- Buildings and Places
- Historic Events
- How People Lived
- Trades and Transport
Each is the gateway to a host of options displaying Ancient Woodlands, Battlefields from the Wars of the Roses and the Civil War, Country Houses, Hillforts, WW2 Airfields and much, much more.
A Map for All Reasons
The aim of this fleeting glance at the County Council's Online Mapping Service was merely to whet your appetite, arouse your curiosity and encourage you to open the page and discover the delights.
Why not report and share your discoveries by writing an article of your own for this Blog? Here's how to do it »