Saturday, 29 October 2011


With the country’s rich yet dark history of bloodthirsty monarchs, medieval folklore and witchcraft, Ford sat navs store a host of ghostly and sinister destinations – from the haunted castles of Scotland and England to Hanging Hill Lane, in Essex, and Cornwall’s ghostly Jamaica Inn.

Those who like a fun night of fright at Hallowe’en may not have to venture far. Ford has plundered data from its sat nav systems to come up with the UK's 20 scariest road names.  From Bats Lane in Dorset to Witches Walk in Bridgwater, these roads would spook any driver at Hallowe’en. Ford drivers looking for the scariest signs should head off to Dead Lane in Essex or Suffolk’s Blood Hill.

"These road names may appear frightening at first glance but there's rather more to it than that," said Dr James Willoughby, Oxford University historian. "Place-names derive usually from Old English words that were descriptive of the landscape the settlement sits in. They may look like modern words, but that's because they have changed their shape over the centuries.  Slaughters Rough is a good example. 'Slaughter' is generally agreed to come from an Old English word 'slohtre', meaning 'muddy place'."

Although the majority of these sinister sounding roads have an innocent origin, Dr Willoughby points out that some do carry a frightening reference to a dark chapter in Britain's past, such as Gallows Hill in Lancaster.

"Gallows Hill is a name referring to a former place of execution," he said. "In this particular case it refers to the place of execution of the so-called Pendle Witches, a group of a dozen witches who were tried in 1612 for the murders of 10 people by witchcraft."

Ford's top 20 scary road names:

1.    Ghost House Lane, Beeston, Nottinghamshire
2.    Devil's Dyke Road, Brighton
3.    Blood Hill, Somersham, Suffolk
4.    Warlock Road, Paddington
5.    Black Cat Drive, Northampton
6.    Gallow’s Hill, Warwick
7.    Hallow Road, Worcester
8.    Witches Walk, Bridgwater
9.    Ducking Stool Court, Romford
10.    Headless Cross Drive, Redditch
11.    Crucifix Lane, Camberwell
12.    Bats Lane, Winterbourne St Martin, Dorset
13.    Cemetery Road, Sheffield
14.    Dead Lane, Colchester, Essex
15.    Hanging Hill Lane, Brentwood, Essex
16.    Hell Lane, Wakefield
17.    Broomstick Lane, Botley
18.    Stake Lane, Farnborough
19.    Elm Street, Manchester
20.    Dark Lane, Bedworth 

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