There seemed to be more cakes than ever to greet the goodly number of milestoners who assembled on a cold but generally sunny day at Hebden, our usual venue in the Yorkshire Dales.

First up was the double-act of Brian and Dorothy Burrows with another entertaining selection of slides from around the world: not just milestones, but waymakers of all kinds, as well as amusing signs (eg “Toilets. Maximum stay 2 hours”).

Next came Jeremy Howat to tell us about the milestones on the A19 (York-Easingwold-Thirsk-Northallerton), and reporting on his research into their possible ironfounders. Click here for full details.

Jeremy highlighted the milestone in Thirsk showing on one face a sheep and lamb, and on the other a figure thought to be a drover, which led nicely into the final session before the lunch break. Presented by Mike Lea, this featured extracts from a Border TV film of 1988, “The Drove”, in which their intrepid reporter, fellow masochists and a dog recreated a journey made regularly in the 18th century, driving a herd of cattle from Galloway via Malham (a hub of the trade, controlled by the local Birtwhistle family) and Norfolk (St Faith’s, near the airport, and for seven centuries host to one of the country’s largest cattle fairs) to London. Drove roads once covered the country (albeit without milestones), but the drovers’ lives were made increasingly difficult with the growth of turnpikes (with their attendant costs) and the enclosure movement, and the trade was dealt a final fatal blow by the railways.

After lunch David Garside introduced a completely new (to us) type of boundary marker, the turbary stone. These are found on moorland areas where peat was dug, turbary being land where turf or peat may be dug for fuel, or as a legal term the right to dig for it. Click here for all the details. He also revealed that Garside Hey, part of Marsden Moor, is named after his ancestors, who had such rights.

And finally Jan Scrine updated us on her ongoing Beyond Graffiti project, and entertained us with the triumph, trials and tribulations of the award-winning Crossing the Pennines scheme – grand opening on July 4th (barring acts of God or Kirklees). Watch this space.

RWH/April 2015