Monday, 29 August 2016

Walking, talking and listening

Our morning walk is intended as exercise as well as pleasure. I confess the mere act of walking is a pleasure. I don’t need much else, but this is a joint venture. Bryony occasionally reminds me as I lurch in front of her. A little conversation between us is ‘de rigeur’.

The sidewalk out of Harleston down to the Needham roundabout, however is definitely single file. (Please excuse the Americanism but it is a much better description of a path beside a road, than the more conventional footpath.) The traffic coming up from the roundabout tends to put pay to any but traffic related conversation.

By the time we got to the turn off to Starston Lane, and I had set the lap time on my newly acquired all singing, all dancing sports stop watch, Bryony was mildly irritated. She showed this by walking behind me rather slowly. This is a sure sign. Bryony’s longer legs normally have me working hard to keep up with her on this gentle slope. This is a shaded shallow gully and we have to keep our ears alert for vehicles coming behind us. The gully opens out after a couple of hundred yards.

Inevitably, we keep on listening for vehicles; the articulated chicken shit trucks are very big indeed. But once out in the open we hear a lot more. My directional hearing is pretty naff and I don’t think Bryony’s is much better. So we can’t work out whether it’s from the road behind us or over the valley until it is fairly close. I determined to look at the layout in three dimensions using the Ordnance Survey maps contour lines.

Gully at the start of Starston Lane

The gully starts at the triangular junction between High Road, Needham Road and Starston Road on the map above.

By the time we reach the squiggly red cross, the gully has opened out and the sounds of vehicles are coming over from the Harleston bypass (marked A143 east of the roundabout). It is difficult to be sure of the exact direction from which the sound is coming. You will notice though, that there is a small copse of woodland and a dwelling surrounded by trees I suspect that this protects us from vehicle noise coming the bypass to the west of the Needham roundabout.

Once round the bend, the country on either side of Starston Lane opens up even further. This year the field to the west are being used by Wharton’s as rose nurseries while to the east the fields are planted to cereals (not rape this year thank goodness). We are both sure that we can hear traffic coming from both directions.

The map below, at a slightly larger scale, shows clear lines of hearing both from the east and the west along the A143. This is the case only once we’ve walked through the long right angled bend in Starston Lane and are heading along the straight towards Cranes Watering Farm.

Towards Cranes Watering Farm. Can hear traffic from both east and west.

Contour Lines

It is difficult to see contour lines from images of OS maps. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that contours are considered less important than other information on the map. Accordingly, if there is a road or a boundary of any sort that always takes precedence. It is not always easy to match up broken contours. 

Contour lines just about visible

Also the online version of the OS map does not appear to give any heights for its contours. The image above shows a series of contours, where I have marked in the heights values, taken from the paper version of the same area.

Paper version showing contour heights

I had to follow these contours through to Starston Lane, to mark the map images above. I still can't be sure that they are correct.

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