Common and uncommon facts that you might not know
Posted on June 25, 2019 by Paula
England has a rich and varied history and each county across the land has its own quirks, traditions and weird and wonderful stories to tell. For this article, we spoke to bloggers who told us about some of the interesting fact and fictions from across England that you might not have heard about before.
Exmouth Beach is the gateway for the UNESCO Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site
Devon is known for its fabulous beaches, rugged moorland and luscious countryside. Exmouth beach is celebrated for its two miles of golden sand, which according to Visit South Devon is rare for this part of the country.
Chris from The Out of Depth Dad told us why Exmouth Beach, and the town in general, holds a special place in his heart: “An interesting fact about Exmouth is that it boasts the longest beach in Devon and Cornwall with more than two miles of sand.
“Another amazing fact is Exmouth is the home of Kitesurfing in the UK. The sport, brought to prominence internationally by Exmouth’s own World Champion Steph Bridge of Edge Water Sports, perfectly suits the conditions on offer in Exmouth with both the sheltered River Exe and the more challenging environment of the English Channel on its doorstep. Personally, as a relatively new resident of Exmouth, I love the charm of the place; it effortlessly combines beauty and a wonderfully British welcome."
Not only will visitors be treated to a long stretch of golden sandy beach, but they will also discover that this quaint seaside town is underpinned by incredible geology of global importance. Exmouth is the Western gateway to the Jurassic Coast which stretches from Orcombe Point to Old Harry Rocks in East Dorset. The Jurassic Coast is a section of England where the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous geological times occurred.
It is along this stretch of coast that we can see rocks that offer “an almost complete record of these three time periods which collectively make up the Mesozoic Era running from around 250 to 65 million years ago” according to the Jurassic Coast Trust. The Trust also commented that the landscape is a “feast for the senses” and that it holds “stories which stimulate the mind, body and soul.”
The beast of Bodmin mystery
Nothing captures the imagination quite like the possibility of a large, four-legged mysterious beast roaming around Cornwall.
There is no doubt that Bodmin Moor can send shivers down your spine when you think about the legend and mystery associated with this wild and rugged landscape. Sightings of a panther-like cat, dubbed the Beast of Bodmin date back to the 90s and theories surrounding the creature have been debated ever since.
If the tales of the Beast of Bodmin are to be believed then the question stands as to where this feline creature came from, or whether the sightings are just a rather large domestic cat. The Cornwall Guide writes on its website: “Theories abound. If it does exist (and many swear it does), perhaps the animal is a big cat that escaped a zoo or a private collection and was not reported because it had been imported illegally. Some believe the animal is a species of wild cat that is believed to have become extinct in Britain many years ago. Some, after reading reports not just of hissing and growling but of sounds like a woman screaming, are inclined to blame the paranormal.”
The largest natural lake can be found in the Lake District’s Windermere
Windermere Lake is the largest natural lake in the country at 10.5miles long, one mile wide and 220ft deep. The Lake District is in Cumbria and is widely recognised for being a tourist hot-spot with more than 15 million people visiting the National Park each year.
Visiting the Lake District is one of the most popular staycations for people across the country and further afield with a wide range of outdoor activities to entice you out into the fresh air. As well as being home to the largest natural lake in England, the Lake District is also renowned for its fantastic trails and mountains visitors can hike up, such as Scafell Pike, which is the highest mountain in England standing at 978 metres tall.
The area was praised for its natural beauty, farming and the inspiration it provided to artists and writers such as Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. It was given well-deserved recognition in 2017 when it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Big Ben is a world-famous clock
This statement is actually fictitious because many people incorrectly believe that Big Ben refers to the majestic clock tower which overlooks the River Thames in London when actually the name refers to the bell inside the tower.
The history of the Elizabeth Tower at Westminster dates to the 13th Century, but the tower as we know it now has its roots firmly set in the 19th Century. The Palace of Westminster was destroyed by a fire in 1834 and it was decided that in 1844 that the new buildings for the Houses of Parliament should include a tower and a clock, according to Visit London: “A massive bell was required and the first attempt, made by John Warner & Sons at Stockton-on-Tees, cracked irreparably. The metal was melted down and the bell recast in Whitechapel in 1858. Big Ben first rang across Westminster on 31 May 1859.A short time later, in September 1859, Big Ben cracked again. A lighter hammer was fitted and the bell rotated to present an undamaged section to the hammer. This is the bell as we hear it today.”
Big Ben is known for its chimes, especially during the hourly strikes, however, the sound of the bell has fallen silent until at least 2021 due to essential maintenance works which are being carried out.
Confusing road signs in Berkshire
Navigating your way around windy English village roads can be tricky as Dr Hayley Stainton, who blogs at Life’s A Butterfly found out: “I live in a village in between Bracknell and Wokingham in Berkshire, and I was surprised when I learnt about the interesting history of the area. When I first moved here, I would frequently get lost.
“One day I said to my husband ‘I feel like I am almost there and then I’m not, how do I keep going so wrong?’ He informed me that during World War 2 the Council amended some of the signs in the area to confuse the enemy. These signs have remained the same ever since. So, if you follow the signs to Bracknell you may end up in Wokingham and vice versa.”
Dr Stainton also told us about some more interesting road facts of historical significance: “One of the main roads in the area is the 9 Mile Ride which was built for King George III to allow the royal family to easily access Windsor Forest for hunting.Despite its name, however, it only measures 6.7 miles long.
“At the end of the 9 Mile Ride is a beautiful natural forest that I often go walking or bike riding in. In the forest, there is Caesars Camp which is the remains of an Iron Age hillfort which covered an area of 17.2 acres. The area now boasts interpretation panels about the historical site, the remains of the hillfort, a monument and heathland habitat supporting rare birds.”
Dr Stainton also explained why she enjoys living in this part of the country: “It is a great location that is close enough to easily travel into London for the day and rural enough that we have birds of prey in the area and Roebuck Deer running around the fields nearby.
“I love living here because it is urban, yet also has a great countryside feel about it, it is the perfect blend of town and country and there is so much to do, there is something for everyone where we live.”
Packing your bags and getting ready for some last minute breaks can be a great way to not only relax and escape the hustle and bustle of daily life but can also provide a great opportunity to discover new places and learn some interesting information along the way.