Apart from Stott Hall Farm, nothing stood in the way of the builders of the M62 trans-Pennine motorway as it made its way over the moors and peat-bogs of Rishworth and Scammonden in 1969 – certainly not the old milestone at Outlane informing drivers (and originally cab-passengers) that they were 3½ miles from Huddersfield.
Ray Wilson, a former Huddersfield Town footballer and a member of England’s World Cup-winning team of 1966, could see it from his father’s funeral parlour which overlooked the construction site. On learning it was about to disappear along with everything else into one of the huge crushing machines on the site, he asked if he could have it, and was told to move it before the machines arrived.
Accordingly, after much strenuous effort (for the stone had as much under-ground as was visible above), it was re-erected in Ray’s garden at Barkisland. It lived there for 32 years.
When Ray left Barkisland in 2006, he and his wife wanted the stone repositioned in Outlane, and finally, in 2012, following the intervention of the Milestone Society, and as part of Kirklees Council’s milestone refurbishment project, it returned home.
Just a few hundred yards from its original site on the westbound sliproad of Junction 23, it can now be found on the original section of New Hey Road, now a cul-de-sac just on the Huddersfield side of the roundabout. Painted white, unlike all the other “to and froms”, but already weathered, it was the furthest from the town centre, and the only 3½ mile stone in existence. They were erected by Huddersfield Corporation in the 1880s or 90s for the purpose of calculating cab fares, which, it is thought, were priced per half-mile.
Source: Milestones & Waymarkers, 2012, vol 5, p 20; Huddersfield Examiner, 29 Nov 2006. RWH / November 2012