Missing finger from Exmoor landmark signpost sought
The finger from one of Exmoor’s iconic historic signposts is missing and the National Park Authority are appealing for its return.
Many visitors admire Exmoor’s iconic cast-iron signposts, and they are now a source of local pride, but a few years ago many were dilapidated and broken until a project led by the National Park Authority and Somerset County Council with an army of volunteers from local parishesenabled the restoration of 140 signposts.
Following significant damage to two highly important signposts and ongoing maintenance costs, the authority is now hoping to raise at least £3,000 through its CareMoor donations scheme in the coming months. One of the damaged signposts is located at Webber’s Post and the finger that should direct people to Somerset’s highest point, Dunkery Beacon as well as Wheddon Cross, where the famous snowdrop valley is based, is now missing. The second signpost which was vandalised and needs significant repair is located at Withypool.
Shirley Blaylock, Historic Environment Officer for the National Park Authority, said “The cost of replacing the finger on one these historic signposts is around £1,000 as each one is unique and needs to be specially cast in a foundry. If anyone knows where the Dunkery Beacon finger is please let us know as it can take hundreds of pounds off the cost of repair, even if broken. We’d like to offer an amnesty with no questions asked, regarding missing parts from any of our signposts.”
The authority is also appealing to parish councils for help. “Brushford parish council helped cover
Exmoor’s Volunteer and Outreach Officer, Patrick Watts-Mabbott said “Donors to the appeal can have the satisfaction of contributing to an important part of Exmoor's heritage, as well as a vital part of our rural road network and local community pride. Funds are needed not only to pay local contractors to repair occasional damage and vandalism like this but also to get the specialist paint and safety training for volunteers to work on the highway. The volunteer team are key to the repainting and keeping Exmoor’s unique and historical signposts looking their best.”
“Initially the project to replace and repair the signposts was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund but we now need to ask the public to help us – whether you can help us find missing fingers or finials, donate to the CareMoor appeal or join our team of volunteers, we’d love to hear from you” added Patrick.
The public are invited to contact Patrick Watts-Mabbott on 01398 323665 or visit CareMoor - Welcome (exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk) to donate and read more details of the appeal.
Published: 6 February 2023
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