Gladys Leap appears on the OS map for Glos.

There are thousands of landmarks up and down the country. Easy for locals to recognise as a point of reference when speaking to a neighbour but totally unintelligible to a stranger.

A real street name such as Letsby Avenue where a police station was built or Nelson Mandela House where Del Boy made and lost his millions.

But there is a local spot in Gloucestershire known as Gladys Leap named after the local post lady – whose name was not Pat, but Gladys Hillier. She delivered the post for 35 years in the village of Cranham where she was born and bred. Two of the residents were Diana and Arthur Cooper whose land was bordered by a brook.

The footpath crossed the brook, a tributary of Painswick stream and a wooden plank was placed over it, but invariably fell into the water and floated away. It left a three foot stream to cross and rather than take a long detour Gladys would leap across with her mailbag, never once getting her feet wet.

When she retired Arthur Cooper mentioned this in his presentation speech and ‘Gladys Leap’ was born. The Ordnance Survey people came down after reading about the speech and the grid reference was noted and the spot marked in all future maps. It can be found at SO 8906 1206.


She was also commemorated in the title of an album by Fairport Convention: Gladys Leap from Amazon music.

In 2005 when Gladys was 88 a bridge was finally built over Gladys Leap which was opened by Gladys Hillier and a commemorative plaque erected to mark the spot.

The sign at Gladys Leap

David Drew MP asks what he could do for me.

Well David, I’ve pinched your photo of Gladys Leap.

Thank you.


You can contact John Barber here: moc.r1547766606ebrab1547766606nhoj@1547766606tcatn1547766606oc1547766606

This page and more in a similar vein comes from a collection in my eBook So! You want to be British . A selection of pages featured in the book can be read by following the links in the right hand sidebar all on this site.