The easy way
With our FREE Path Checker
app you can easily report a fault and its Ordnance Survey grid reference directly to us. Please choose a button to visit the site where you can download it to your device.
How to provide a grid reference
OS grid references can be written in a number of ways. For our purposes we prefer two letters and eight digits (numbers), e.g., SJ97646956
(or SJ 9764 6956). Incidentally, that's the summit of Shutlingsloe, near Macclesfield.
Find a grid reference on a map
You might find it useful to look at the Ordnance Survey's guide on their website here (opens a new window)
Convert a grid reference
At times you may have a grid reference which doesn't have letters at the beginning and consists only of numbers. Depending on the format of the grid reference you've got, please see the following method.
Numeric-only grid references have two sets of up to six numbers each with a comma between the sets, e.g., 397642,369567. The method is the same regardless of the number of digits. What you need to do is:
- Separate out the first digit of each set of numbers and the comma. So from 397642,369567 you get 3,3 and 9764269567
- Use the first digits to look up the corresponding two letters in this list: 3,2=SO | 3,3=SJ | 3,4=SD | 4,2=SP | 4,3=SK | 4,4=SE
- Then put those two letters in front of the other digits to give, in this case, SJ9764269567.
A ten-digit reference like this is a 1 metre grid reference and we prefer a 10m reference. To get a 10m reference, simply delete the fifth and tenth digit. So SJ9764
26956 7 becomes SJ97646956.
If you've read these instructions for the first time and think they're complicated, we promise you that after a little practice it soon becomes easy.
Latitude and longitude
Occasionally you might come across a location specified in degrees of latitude and longitude. You can easily convert it to a grid reference using the Ordnance Survey's Coordinate transformation tool
in their website here (opens a new window)