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Milepost project points drivers and walkers in the right direction

[Monday 10 September 2007]

HISTORIC mileposts in the Yorkshire Dales National Park are being given a facelift in a £10,000 restoration project.

The mileposts - painted white with black lettering - are a familiar sight on roadside verges, but some were in urgent need of attention, according to Mark Stephenson, Building Conservation Officer with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA).

some date back to the old turnpike roads of the eighteenth century

Mark Stephenson - YDNPA

So far, 12 have had varying degrees of restoration work carried out on them as part of the project funded by the YDNPA and the North Yorkshire County Council Highways, Craven and Richmond divisions.

"Some of them just needed painting, but one or two of the cast iron ones were in a really corroded state and were hard to see," Mark said.

"Others had been physically damaged and needed new pieces welding on or had snapped below ground level and needed repairing.

"We still have another four or five that are on the 'At Risk' register so we will be looking at them soon."

Six of the mileposts are solid cast iron, three are cast iron on stone and the remaining three are made just of stone. Nine of them are listed nationally as 'Buildings of Architectural or Historic Merit'.

"There is a wide range of mileposts both in style and material and they give a feel for the way transport signage has changed over time," Mark said.

"Some of them are located on what were main roads like the Four Lane Ends milepost near Sedbergh, currently in the foyer of our Bainbridge office awaiting a decision on its future.

"And some date back to the old turnpike roads of the eighteenth century.

"We found a problem with one between Askrigg and Hardraw which, at some point, had been re-sited on the opposite side of the road - which meant the finger signs were pointing in the wrong directions.

"It may have been moved from the other side of the road so that car drivers could see the destinations and number of miles more easily.

"But it was so corroded that the fingers were not very visible and we think nobody appeared to have noticed until we arranged for it to be cleaned and painted."

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