According to the theory, Watkins traced out straight lines throughout
Britain joining such places. Many criss-crossed each other. The "leys" he
saw as ancient grassed tracks.
-Ley or -Leigh place-names are generally accepted to represent an enclosed field but Watkins suggested these name-place endings meant " a grassy track across country". No occult claims were made by Watkins as some groups do today.
The idea may have developed from observation of the system of Roman roads which crossed between major Roman centres of Britain, these were often straight stretches of road, deviating only to skirt difficult terrain. When Watkins joined landmarks on a map near Leominster, Hereford/Worcestershire, he perceived that these lines followed 'ancient British' tracks. He saw high-points & hilltops as being sighting points.
That light travels in straight lines and may be reflected from points may have offered the inspiration for such structures.
Ley Lines for parts of West and South Yorkshire:
The Western Parts of Yorkshire are covered with place-names ending in -ley. This is probably a relic of p; Anglian colonisation, for with the later incursions of the Danes, Anglian place names further East seem to have been replaced by Scandinavian/Danish ones.
See map showing areas of Yorkshire [orange colour] with place names ending in -ley.
When places ending in -ley are plotted from maps, a less than random
pattern appears. Not all follow straight lines however. Some such as the Ilkley-Otley
line seem to follow the colonisation/trade route of Wharfedale. Others such
as those around Dewsbury appear to link to other staighter lines. This latter
example appears more like the "winding English road" between Anglian settlements.
Dewsbury was an early Anglian ecclesiastical centre.
Some, as around Loxley, and Leeds [Loidis] appear to have no particular
pattern but the density of such settlements may indicate other cultural
Very strong -ley lines run through :
1. Chisley and West Midgley, through Warley, Exley, Bradley, Lilley, Whitley, Midgley East,
Coxley, Woolley and Brierley. For the most part this appears to follow Calderdale and thus represents a pattern of
westward Anglian migration.
2. Crossley, Longley, Shepley, Shelley, Emley, Midgley East, Coxley, Stanley, Scholey and Methley
3. Keighley, Bingley, Moseley, Cottingley, Shipley, Calverley, Bagley, Headingley, Burley and
4. Beamsley, Ilkley, Wheatley, Burley, Otley & Guiseley, Moseley, Alwodley, Hobberley.
Essentially following Wharfedale.
5. Farnley, Leathley, Castley &Weardley form and arc from Otley to Alwoodley
The pattern is distinctly trapezoidal. The ley place-names do not
lie directly in line but on either side.
There appears to be a bend in the ley near Kirklees/Bradley/BattyFord. Battye Ford was a fording point on the river Calder.
Were these ley lines land boundaries along which travel could occur? Are they Anglian in origin? Do they represent the direction of colonisation by Anglian settlers? Were existing vantage points previously colonised by people of the Iron Age used for Anglian ley surveying? Were the lines set out using magnetic North at the time#? Whether in fact these structures occur at all is contentious. Certainly, I do not suggest occult or paranormal reasons for these apparent patterns. Rather, they are relics of possible Anglian social organisation, after all, Old English is the origin of place-names ending, -ley.
# Note: Magnetic North is constantly changing. At the present time it is 11 degrees west of True North and decreasing easterly.