How long is a piece of string?

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Telegraph poles disappearing into the distance

We had a letter this week from Shaun Hull from sky.com.

Hi there,

I was wandering [sic] if anyone knows the approximate number of telegraph poles, still in use today, in the U.K.?

Thanks,
Shaun Hull.

The answer to your question Shaun, is yes!  His name is Clive, he is a retired metalworker, and we believe he lives in the Halesowen area of the West Midlands.  However we wondered why you might want to know about him.  Rather than find out who exactly knows the answer to this most vexing of questions, why not let’s have a go at working it out for ourselves.  That way we don’t have to trouble poor Clive at all.

And where else to seek truth but that great fount of all metaphysical wisdom in the modern world. That’s right; Yahoo Answers.  Those people are so clever.  And this has to be correct because it was the top answer as chosen by 40% (2) of the people who read it. And the answer is a rather surprising : 1,265,810.