The ruling about the need for guide-stones in moorland areas was acted on by the North Riding County Justices in 1711 (eleven years after the West Riding).  They ordered that guideposts should be erected throughout the county; they were to be hewn from huge pieces of stone and set up in locations where roads, trackways and  footpaths, used by the numerous packhorse trains (as well as solitary travellers even more likely to get lost on a bad day) crossed.

We call them guide-stoops but locally they are referred to as handstones.  They were relatively plain four-sided upright stone slabs, with the names of villages roughly inscribed on the four faces.  And hands: very crudely chiselled but very distinctive.  The stone-masons, probably illiterate, often had difficulty with the letters and their spacing.

They can be found on Blakey Ridge (north of Hutton-le-Hole), Urra Moor (very worn), Ingleby Moor (with the date 1757) and elsewhere.

Here is a selection.

Sources: Historic England website; anonymous article on ‘North York Moors: guide posts or stoops – known locally as handstones’ (no further details).

RWH / September 2020

The north-facing side of the Blakey Ridge stone. Guisbrough is roughly 15 miles north of the stone, so presumably the hand pointing up in the air means “It’s behind you”. .
The west-facing side of the Blakey Ridge stone. This points down what is now a mere track to Lowna and on via Gillamoor to Kirkbymoorside.
The east-facing side of the Blakey Ridge stone points south down the road to Hutton-le-Hole, about 2 miles away – whence Pickering or Malton can be reached. The stone (Milestone Soc ID YN_XSE6992) is at SE 6936 9255.
The stone on Ingleby Moor in the north-east of the district on a very old track between Ingleby Greenhow and Kirkbymoorside. Milestone Soc ID: YN_XNZ6004. Grid ref: NZ 6040 0422
On the road between Commondale and Kildale, just outside the former. Three hands point to Whitby, Stokesley and Jisber (Guisborough). Milestone Soc ID: YN_XNZ6510. Grid ref NZ 655 105.
A very weathered handstone on Urra Moor. Milestone Soc ID: YN_XNZ5901a. Grid ref: NZ 5943 0150.