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Timeball & Telegraph Trail

Gtr London, Kent

156 km / 97 miles
Prominent on Deal seafront is a tall building with a large black ball on the roof. This is the Timeball Tower. The current building was constructed in 1821 with a semaphore signal on the top that was used by the Coast Blockade for the Suppression of Smuggling to pass information along the coast. In 1855 it was converted to a timeball to signal to shipping in The Downs anchorage offshore which, in the time of sail, was much used by vessles waiting for a favourable wind to continue down The Channel or round into the Thames. Just before 1pm the ball would be raised to the top of the mast and at 1pm precisely the ball would drop so that ships could set the chronometers they used for determining their longitude position acurately for navigation. The drop was triggered by an electric signal along the telegraph wires of the South Eastern Railway from the Royal Observarory at Greenwich on the roof of which there is a similar timeball that was used to signal to shipping in the Thames below. This walk connect these two timeballs.

A detailed route description is available in the publications section below.


Path Type: Other Paths
Attributes: Average Gradients
World Heritage Site
Industrial History
Start: TR378534 - Timeball Tower, Deal, Kent View on StreetMap
Finish: TQ388773 - Royal Observarory, Greenwich, London, Gtr London View on StreetMap
Open Date: 2012
Web Sites: Google Map - Timeball & Telegraph Trail

Publications, Badges and Certificates:

Route Description - PDF Timeball & Telegraph Trail  (Peter Jull  - 2012 ) Download File


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National Trails (England & Wales)
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Anytime Challenges

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Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2016.
© OpenStreetMap contributors under Open Database Licence.
Rights of way data from selected Local Authorities.
Large scale digital mapping is provided by John Thorn.
At high zoom levels the route is indicative only.
Purchase Ordnance Survey Maps:
OS Landranger 177, 178, 179, 189
OS Landranger Active 177, 178, 179, 189
OS Explorer 137, 138, 148, 149, 150, 161, 162, 163
OS Explorer Active 137, 138, 148, 149, 150, 161, 162, 163

Accommodation within 5 km of this Path:

Hostel Accommodation
5 km
65 km
Hostel Accommodation
3 km
96 km
Hostel Accommodation
4 km
156 km
Hostel Accommodation
4 km
156 km

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Route Profile:

156.4 km (97.2 miles)
2,203 m (7,228 ft) ascent
151 m (495 ft)  maximum height

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