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Online House Hunter: Middle ground

Alan Cleaver
Haltwhistle 300x204 Online House Hunter: Middle ground

At the centre of the world - a property for sale at Haltwhistle

IF you want to live at the very centre of things, where should you start searching?

The centre of Britain has long been sought but even in this age of the Sat Nav it’s not easy to find. For a start, do you want the start of Britain, the UK, the British Isles, England or some other definition of your home land. And what do you mean by the ‘centre’ – the middle of a circle that encompasses everything, or the middle of diagonal lines from the furthest land points?

The BBC looked to settle the argument in 2002 when they reported on Ordnance Survey’s definition of the centre of Great Britain: “According to the Ordnance Survey’s definition, the centre of Great Britain (factoring in its 401 associated islands) lies on Brennand Farm, about seven kilometres north-west of Dunsop Bridge.” That’s Dunsop Bridge in Lancashire. But all you’ll find at the ‘centre’ is a peat bog.

The report also says that Haltwhistle – 71 miles away – also lays claims to being in the centre. Indeed, you’ll find The Centre of Britain Hotel there with detailed explanations as to why it is in the middle of everything.

What if we leave out all this fiddly little island bits – surely then it would be easy to find the centre. Apparently that would be Coton in the Elms, Derbyshire. Here you’ll find an idyllic rural setting – or a “CRACKING VILLAGE LOCATION!” as one estate agent puts it so delicately.

And what about the centre of England? Surely everyone knows that is Meriden, near Coventry? But apparently it’s not quite. It’s further down the road at Lindley Hall Farm. No matter. Meriden is close enough and a price just shy of £250,000 will buy you this three-bedroom detached house for sale there.

The Vikings put the centre at Daventry, while the Celts determined it was at Oxford where two dragons, responsible for the evils of Britain, were battling it out. Presumably they still are.

But the best article on the centre – or centres – of England is by Philip Coppens. In the article, In  Search of Middle England, he runs through the history of the search, ending at Croft Hill, near Leicester. As this is near to the true geographical centre of England he points out it “underlines that in Celtic times, perhaps as much as 3000 years ago, if not older, our ancestors possessed advanced knowledge about the geography of the island they lived on.” That or they had Sat Nav.

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