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The construction of various types of block

A 'Block' is a concrete block approx 1 cu ft in dimension emplaced such that the top surface is at ground level. A bolt, with head diameters measured to date between 3/4" and 2 3/8", is fixed at the centre of the upper face of the block. Over time surface soil, vegetation, etc can build up resulting in the block being several inches below ground level. Quite often, a benchmark is cut into the block's upper surface, sometimes into the bolt. A block can be destroyed when a field is ploughed or a hedge is grubbed-out. But occasionally it may be moved out of the way by the farmer, for example at Summer House.

Buried Block

For a general description of a 'Buried Block' see 'Block' above. 'Buried Blocks' were designed to be buried below ground level (0.6m is an indication of the depth; the deepest known is Sowerby Railway Bridge), however, they can be found much closer to the surface. A tool known as a searcher was used by the OS to help relocate the trig mark. Metal detectors were also used. At some point the OS experimented with introducing a ferrous substance (iron filings?) into the concrete mix of some buried blocks[Citation needed] to aid in locating these trigs. Apparently it wasn't very successful. A different relocation technique was to cover the block with a metal sheet, for example Long Hill [1] Another was to embed scrap metal into the block [2], for example Sniperley Farm, Nashes Farm and Tir Phil .

An emplacement ring, known to trig baggers as a Concrete Ring, was sometimes installed above a buried block. It could assist in locating a trig mark, but is not in itself a mark. A detector plate, otherwise referred to as a Covered bolt, served a similar purpose.

Surface Block

The term 'Surface Block' is derived from the OS Passive Stations database. A number of OSGB36 Blocks were reused as Passive Stations and some new Blocks were constructed. In practice, Surface Blocks are physically indistinguishable from Blocks.


  1. OS sketch for Long Hill
  2. email from Ian Wilson to the Trigonomy mailing list, 24/09/2013