W-mere Five

Published 8 December 2013. Last updated 9 January 2015


I’m not of an age that I remember the days before our current road signs were introduced; the standardised set originally created by the Worboys Committee in the 1960s. Growing up in the 1980s there was the odd stray road sign from a distance age, but they were rare.

Indeed, standardised road signs have been with us so long that it’s hard to imagine a world before they were put up on large metal backed signs with reflective lettering, using a special font called “Transport”.

Every now and then, tucked away, you find a relic of that previous era. The sign above – a distance guide – was found whilst walking in Ambleside in Cumbria.

Tucked away on a wall on the side of the road to Rydal, it would be little use to most modern motorists who would drive past far too quickly to be able to locate it, yet alone read its contents. The direction is all wrong. You’d need to crane your neck rather than concentrate on the road. Even a cyclist would be hard pushed to spot it.

Which means it’s just the person on foot who gets to enjoy it; those leaving the village to head to the hills pass by it regularly, learning that Kendal is 16 away, and the mysterious “W-mere” only five. There’s no hint of which direction they’re in. You have to know that yourself. “W-mere” could be anywhere. And we can only assume that the distance is in miles.

As sights go in the local area, it’s probably not the best. After all, the place is surrounded by fells. But it looks pretty good to me.

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