Traditional Fingerpost Restoration

Wednesday 19th September 2012

Mendip Hills Traditional Highway Fingerpost Signage Restoration

The Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is nationally recognised for its landscape quality. The designation recognises the importance of heritage and reinforces the need to protect and manage historic features.

With funding from the Mendip Hills AONB Sustainable Development Fund the Mendip Hills AONB Unit is restoring the traditional black and white fingerposts at high profile junctions and crossroads.

The original posts date from the early 1900’s resulting from the 1903 Motor Car Act. As there were no guidelines in 1903 as to how the fingerposts should look each Council developed signs with their own identity. As Somerset County once covered the whole of the AONB most fingerposts in and near the AONB have a SCC finial on the top. These will be retained as part of the areas heritage although council boundaries have since changed.

Charterghouse Fingerpost

New Fingerpost at Charterhouse

The first 10 posts to be repaired are on the route from Two Trees at the top of Burrington Combe, to West Horrington via Charterhouse and Priddy. This is one of the main AONB visitor routes to Cheddar, Priddy and Wells. The next phase is currently being planned with the Highways Authorities.

Restoration involves cleaning, pattern making, casting of new signs to replace broken and missing fingers, and painting. A new ‘collar’ with the name of the junction, the grid reference and ‘Mendip Hills’ is being be added to each post to aid visitors and to raise awareness of being in the AONB. Unofficial signs placed on the posts have been removed and it is hoped that no new signs will be added as they are untidy and it is illegal to advertise on the highway.

Restoration of finger posts in other AONBs and National Parks have had a positive impact on tourism, an important part of the local economy, but have also provided an improvement to the environment that has been appreciated by the local community.