Does anyone know what black dots mean on an OS Explorer map?

There are a lot of them on the map of Kinder Scout in the Peak District (UK).

I know the black dashed line is a footpath, I am asking about the round black dots (there are a line of them going from Kinder Low to Madwoman Stones).

In the image below, they go from Kinder Low (633m) to the top right edge of the map:

OS Map


1 Answer 1


According to the Ordnance Survey legend, those are


Civil Parish (CP); England or Community (C); Wales

See page 6 of the legend under boundaries. There are no other small black dots on the legend.

  • Thanks Charlie, I checked the Legend but obviously not the relevant section.
    – MJH
    Commented Sep 28, 2018 at 7:04
  • 1
    These drive me nuts. I mean, when was the last time you were on the side of a hill and you really needed to know which Civil Parish you were in?
    – aucuparia
    Commented Oct 30, 2019 at 11:18
  • @aucuparia Same here, they look so much like the dotted lines used for footpaths as well!
    – MJH
    Commented Oct 30, 2019 at 14:32
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    @aucuparia, the OS don't map for only walkers. They have the government remit to map the UK, excluding Northern Ireland, for whoever needs that information. Researchers, town planners, etc. all use OS mapping. In fact, selling maps for leisure use only makes up a small part of their income, or so I've been told on a CPD workshop run by the OS. There are other companies out there which do cater specifically for leisure use, and they don't map things you can't physically see on the ground. Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 11:25

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