Peak & Northern Footpaths Society has a long and proud history in the provision and maintenance of signposts and bridges. Signposts are probably the Society's most enduring items, with some well over 100 years old. We began erecting metal signposts, or notices as they were initially called, in 1905. Twenty have survived from before WW1 and are a lasting tribute to both the durability of cast iron and the design skills of Rowland Mower of New Mills. We hope that the current total of over 550 signposts, 8 fingerposts, 5 plaques and 2 toposcopes will provide a long-lasting service to walkers.
Recently we have greatly extended the area in which our signposts are planted. Small numbers of them can now be found in the Bowland Forest, Pendle, the Ribble Valley, Bradford, Wakefield, Doncaster, Rotherham, Staffordshire and the Wirral, as well as the Peak District and Pennines. We welcome suggestions for new sites – email our signposts team here and let us know yours.
PNFS have been placing signposts on the public path network since 1905. Most of our signs are of the ‘metal plate’ type. Signs were originally made of cast iron and were individually designed. Signpost no.1 (above) is quite plain, with “P.D. & N.C.F.P.S, 1905”. Signpost no.78 (below) has the full title “Peak District & Northern Counties Footpaths Preservation Society, 1933”. Some signs even have the altitude on them, like Signpost no.34, thanks to Hon. Surveyor, Col. Henry T. Crook, CE.
Signs are our principal contact with the walking public and are an invaluable resource. As they are such visible structures, they are an excellent way for us to advertise ourselves, so most signs have a ‘Join us’ plaque attached. Many of our structures also carry dedication plaques. We welcome the opportunity to dedicate signs, for example to a special event or to a walking enthusiast or group. If you'd like to know more, please email us.
The first record we have of contributing towards the cost of a footbridge was in 1925 when the Society contributed one-third of the total cost of £25 11s 8½d for a footbridge over the River Derwent at Slippery Stones.
In 2005, the custom of providing funds for new footbridges was reintroduced by David Bratt, our then chairman. We consider applications for funding footbridges where a path has become difficult to use or is impassable. In all cases a contribution is required from the highway authority, for example, the authority may carry out repairs on the footpath or construct the bridge when PNFS has paid for the materials.
Between 2005 and 2014 we invested over £35,000 in the funding of footbridges. This money came from legacies left to the Society. By paying for bridges it provides a lasting record of the improvements to the footpath network that we strive to achieve.