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Nigel and Jenny Ford, with Tony Langford, back, and the milestone near Honingham on the Mattishall Road. Picture: Denise Bradley
Nigel joined up and began his mission to restore as many milestones as he could to their former glory. Retirement in June 2010 finally gave him the time to devote to his campaign. "It's blossomed ever since," he said.
The Milestone Society was established in 2001 to record, research, conserve and interpret for public benefit the milestones and other waymarkers of the British Isles
The retired window cleaner is often to be seen, on his own, or with his small team of helpers including his wife Jennifer, carefully rescuing our ancient milestones from decades of neglect to bring them back to life.
A restored milestone from Bawburgh, which was rescued after being hidden in a hedge for 50 years, and then re painted by children from the Bawburgh village school.
His letter to the EDP saying what a shame it was resulted in him being contacted by the Milestone Society, whose members have an interest in the history and preservation of these fascinating roadside artefacts.
At the height of the turnpike era, there were 20,000 miles of roads in the country with milestones. In Norfolk about half the milestones were put up by the trusts.
But there is and Nigel Ford is the man who's proving it.
His interest was sparked when he noticed a milestone at Bawburgh, near Norwich, that had been damaged by a flail cutter.
Norfolk County Council owns the milestones as a 'heritage New Balance Men's 4040 V3 Metal Baseball Cleats asset', but gives full support to Nigel and his team, whose community spirit are so important particularly at this time of public austerity.
Milestones received a boost by order of Parliament in 1767 when all turnpike trusts who ran toll roads were obliged to put them up to help travellers.
Sometimes the stones have to be dug out and carefully relocated to a safer place on the verge, away from the risk of being clipped by passing traffic.
Drive along the B1108 from Norwich to Watton, for example, and you'll see the fruits of their handiwork on the verge, the black letters picked out on a dazzling white background and looking as pristine as the day they were first put up to guide New Balance 880v
There are 360 milestones in Norfolk, roughly half the number there were a century ago. Many date back to the mid 1700s when turnpike roads were the fastest mode of travel.
was a letter which EDP which inspired Nigel to head out from his Hardingham home, armed with scrubbing brush, spade and Sandtex paint, to see if he could bring new life to these half forgotten stones.
Those pictures and many others feature in a delightful new book, Moving Miles: Restoring 60 of Norfolk's Milestones With The Help of Children, Royalty and Hard Work, which Nigel and his wife Jennifer an enthusiastic supporter of the restoration efforts have written to raise for funds to bring more of these gems back to life.
coachmen or weary walkers hundreds of years ago.
Some just need a lick of paint. Others are in a sadder state, overgrown, broken or forgotten, lost and embedded in ditches. Many are buried or lost in a jungle of nettles and brambles, only coming to light when a mower, flail or hedge trimmer hits them.
There's something rather lovely about these simple and useful objects, something which reminds us that the tarmacked, modern roads we speed along in 2014 were once much humbler tracks. The milestones' continuing existence connects us to generations long gone.
The story of milestonesThe Romans were the first people to have an extensive system of milestones. The shortage of hard building stone in Norfolk means that it is unlikely there were any in the county wooden markers were probably used instead.
If the milestone is damaged, then Nigel has to call in a stonemason to put things right. Otherwise, it's a question of clearing away the undergrowth and cleaning off algae and mud before repainting.
By royal appointment: The Prince of Wales helps paint a numeral on the Anmer milestone, watched by Nigel Ford.
Now, almost six years on from the day that Nigel restored his first milestone one opposite Barford Hire on the B1108 the project has grown to bring in local communities, and even royalty.
Nigel and his team have now restored more than a third of them. Each can involved up to six to seven hours' work.
The Prince of Wales took a keen interest in the resoration of the milestone at Anmer, even painting two of the Roman numerals during the stone's restoration and relocation.
Many milestones were removed or buried in the 1940 invasion scare. Many were collected together in a Norwich council depot which unfortunately took a direct hit in a 1942 air raid.
How Norfolk's milestones are being restored to their former glory
Getting the family involved all hands to the paints to restore this Bawsey milestone.
to remain in the UK.
Firstly, though, you've got to find them. "Every so often you come across them we even found one in a pig sty the other week!" Nigel said.
Milestone is a generic term, which also includes mileposts made of cast iron, as well as the more traditional stone (some are even made from both materials). About 9,000 milestones are thought New Balance Running Shoes Amazon
In 1888, the new county councils were given responsibility for main roads and rural district councils for minor routes. They set up some milestones of their own 35 still survive in the county.
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