Cee’s Which Way Challenge: Finger Posts

Cee’s Which Way Challenge: There is no specific theme given.  It just needs to be some sort of  ‘Which Way’. The possibilities are endless.

 Join in with the challenge or to view other ‘Which Ways’.

fingerpost (sometimes referred to as a guide post) is a traditional type of sign post in the United Kingdom and Ireland, consisting of a post with one or more arms – known as fingers – pointing in the direction of travel to places named on the fingers. The posts have traditionally been made from cast iron or wood, with poles painted in black, white or grey and fingers with black letters on a white background, often including distance information in miles. In most cases, they are used to give guidance for road users, but examples also exist on the canal network and walking trails for instance.

Wooden finger post with mileage on  the Coastal Path in Norfolk
Modern Finger post in cast iron in a park in Herefordshire

There was plenty of scope for distinctive spread of designs which remains to today.  Roundel designs can include the junction name, a village name, highway authority names in full or initials, and some can include grid numbers.

Roundel in Hampshire
Roundel in Hampshire with the village name of Burley
A Roundel in Norfolk with the village name of Hindringham
A Roundel in Norfolk with the village name of Hindringham

The fingers also vary with some (Cornwall and Devon) being square ended, Dorset is curved and Somerset triangular ended.  Note the different shapes at the top of the column too.

Triangular in Somerset
Triangular in Somerset
Square in Norfolk
Square in Norfolk
Curved in Gloucestershire

And note the mileage information in this post in Somerset. We were parked in Bossington, so only had 1/4 mile to walk back to the car.

Somerset Mileag
Somerset  County Council (SCC)  with the triangular top

Most finger posts are coloured white, black and grey, but there are others. Red ones are seen in Dorset and you may find green ones that indicate a minor road or ‘drift’ road. Brown signs (below) indicate a tourist site or location and blue signs indicate a cycle network. These are more recent.

Jun 01 2009_Somerset_6871

So, have you seen any unusual finger posts on your travels? If you have then I’d like to hear about them.

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

22 thoughts on “Cee’s Which Way Challenge: Finger Posts”

        1. Well, it is a very pretty hamlet with a round hill, and close to the coast, so I wouldn’t mind living there, and I’m not the least bit bossy 😉

    1. Even more useful when they include the mileage. Unfortunately there are an awful lot of junctions in the English countryside that have no signs at all!

    1. I think that sign in Walsingham must have the biggest fingers I have seen – and whilst I am chatting to you, perhaps you can explain to me why so many road signs in Norfolk have ‘by Road’?

      1. No idea I’m afraid. There are lots that say ‘Byway to…’ as well, so I presume they are hangovers from the days without made roads? x

        1. According to a dictionary a byroad is the same as a byway – a little travelled side road in the countryside. Somehow it has become two words. And I have only seen this in Norfolk. A bit like ‘The Street’ which seems to be everywhere in Norfolk too! Fascinating county 🙂

    1. Thanks Cee – they are very interesting, but I hadn’t realised that there are in fact regional differences until I came to write this post. I shall have to look out for more!

  1. Oh Jude, I love these signs! I like to take photos of them too but I never knew the significance of the different ‘designs’, can you believe it? Great post and photos. Oh, and I recognised just one or two of these place-names 😉 xx

    1. I never knew that too! I shall be on the lookout for more different versions – I’d like to find a red one in Dorset, apparently thought to point to a gibbet!

      1. Hmmm…having lived in Dorset for many years and with family still there I’m keen to find that out too 😉

  2. I always take a shot of these on my journeys at home in the UK and the street signs when I’m overseas. I love how they differ from city to city and country to country. Lovely post (excuse the pun!)

    1. I take them usually so that I know where I was when taking photos, I hadn’t considered them as interesting otherwise until I wrote this post. But now I shall be on the lookout for some of the more unusual ones!

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