Milestones are markers which were once very common across the country. They typically marked every mile to the nearest town centre, stretching along the main routes out into the country. Sometimes they would have more than one destination on them.
The Milestone Society
The Milestone Society have created a database of milestones (and related items), and the data on this map comes from the Society’s own repository. This is available to download as a series of spreadsheets from their website. The images come from Geograph, where they have an official Milestone Society presence. You can find out more about the Milestone Society, become a member for a very small sum, and find out more about milestones and other markers on the Milestone Society website.
I’d like to thank the Milestone Society for permission to put this part of their data on here. You could help repay my debt by helping the society keep their records up to date. Are there any near you that aren’t on this map (though note that the data here is not absolutely up to date)? Are there any damaged milestones near you? The society likes to inspect milestones regularly, and to log visits and any changes in the marker’s condition.
Help monitor milestones
Check out your local examples, and see if there are any missing from the map above (though note that the map data is not absolutely up to date). The society is also interested to see if any (on the map or not) are damaged or missing.
Lots of milestones have been vandalised, damaged or stolen over the years, so the Milestone Society emerged from people wanting to save these interesting and often attractive objects for posterity. Their efforts are backed by law, as it’s illegal to deface or steal part of a milestone or similar marker.
I’ve noticed that at a couple of milestones shared on Facebook are not in this dataset, so perhaps it’s time to contact the Milestone Society!
Not just milestones
Milestones have a few cousins out there in the real world. Fingerposts are the most obviously historical features, sometimes with elaborate shapes and decoration. Canal markers might be the type most capable of surviving, and this seems to be the case in Liverpool. They tend to be in secluded spots, away from the daily bustle.