Another glorious Spring day in the Yorkshire Dales, the pee-wits decoying, the pheasants whirring, the tiny lambs shivering pitifully on the frosted grass, as around 40 milestoners and guests gathered at Hebden near Grassington, to hear a variety of interesting speakers – though curiously there was little mention of actual milestones.
Our guest speaker was Christopher Evans from Scarborough, who described his findings on “Trods – paved ways in NE Yorkshire”, as used by panniermen, fish merchants and smugglers. Click here for full details.

This was followed by a profusely illustrated talk by one of our members, David Garside, with the provocative title “Boundary stones – more interesting than milestones?”  Those of us who share that view were treated to a wide variety, plain and fancy: county, monastic, manorial, chapelry, industrial and parish – as were those who don’t.  The picture on the right shows how interesting boundary stones can be: taken on the road from Skipton to Hebden it is unusual in having been erected by a Highway District (the bodies created by the Highways Act of 1862, which also took over when turnpike trusts failed).  This marks the boundary between Rylstone and Stirton-with-Thorlby, erected by the East Staincliffe HD (1864-1895).

Following lunch, with a chance to look at albums and peruse the hot-off-the-press Yorkshire Newsletter, Jan Scrine showed us the Society’s latest publicity ventures, being produced with the cooperation of Barnsley poet Ian McMillan.  Already out on Youtube is The Rabbit and the Milestone, showing how easy it is for any rabbit to find our milestones on Google Earth.  Watch it here:

h?v=zUs6Elrm8Xk67 miles to where?

And finally: “Cross at the cross-roads, 230 miles to Clovelly and a real puzzle” by Dr Lionel Scott, who showed us some intriguing waymarkers at junctions, ending with a plea for anyone to identify the obliterated destination “67 Miles” on a pre-turnpike milestone from the Great North Road at Robin Hood’s Well, seven miles north of Doncaster (pictured left).  Rescued when the A1 was widened back in the 1960s this now resides in a garden in nearby Brodsworth. [Personally, I think it’s lost the figure 1 and is 167 miles to London – Ed.].

Plenty of lively contributions from the floor ensured that this was another enjoyable meeting!  Next year’s meeting will be at the same venue on Sunday 21st April 2013.  Put it in your diaries now!

JS/RWH / April 2012