If you love green signposts, you’ll love the Peak and Northern Footpaths Society

Published 6 May 2018

Peak and Northern Footpaths Society signpost for Hayfield and Edale

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Walk in the Peak District and you’re likely to come across at least one distinctive looking green metal signpost. You may come across several. They’re everywhere, and have been helping walkers find their way for over a century.

They are the work of the Peak and Northern Footpaths Society, and form part of their work of protecting and promoting paths.

Initially known as The Peak District and Northern Counties Footpaths Preservation Society in 1894, the group evolved out of an even earlier organisation – the “The Manchester Association for the Preservation of Ancient Public Footpaths” of 1826.

Peak and Northern Footpath Society signpost near Cracken Edge

The distinctive green signposts of the Peak and Northern Footpath Society - many of which can be found on the High Peak Way

The first signpost was installed in 1905, and the originals were made out of cast iron. Others are more modern, with the society’s logo emblazoned in the top corner. Many of the originals still exist in-situ, including that very first signpost.

Should you be that inclined, you can bag them too. There are now 388 of them, along with 11 fingerposts, 4 plaques and 2 view indicators. The Peak and Northern’s website even includes interactive maps of where you can find them all. Oh, and pictures of them all too.

I certainly am not in the territory of bagging them. But I managed to come across – and photograph – a few of them over the years. Many of them were on the High Peak Way, a short trail I recently started walking. On the first day alone, I managed to spot eighteen of them.

Peak and Northern Footpaths Society signpost 38, from 1908

Installed in 1908, and still in use.

Most I’ve seen have been the modern ones. But without doubt my favourite is number 38. Erected in 1908, it has a gloriously ornate frame and looks almost too grand to sit outside, near a road in the village of Bradwell.

No matter what the age of the sign, each is lovingly maintained by an army of volunteers. You could be one too. The society is always on the lookout for people to help in its activities, and you can find out more on its website. Perhaps as well as admiring the signposts, you could be one of the people helping to install them. Or even touching up their paintwork. Just like others have been doing for a hundred and thirteen years.

The Peak and Northern is a charity and relies on donations in order to do its work. You can find details of how to join, or donate, on the Support Us pages of their website.

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