• Cranborne Chase AONB Office, Rushmore Farm, Tinkley Bottom, Tollard Royal, Wiltshire, SP5 5QA  Tel: 01725 517417


Jun 14, 2017
Gussage All Saints revamps signage with SDF money

THE iconic finger posts around Gussage All Saints will soon take on a shiny new look in part thanks to a grant of £1,360 from the Cranborne Chase and West Wilts Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) which will facilitate the restoration of two of the five traditional directional signs in and around the village. 

Patricia Hill, a Gussage All Saints resident who is organising the restoration, said: “Traditional finger posts have been a part of the English country scene for centuries, which is why they are so important for rural identity. Restoring finger posts to their original design and condition helps to reinforce local distinctiveness, maintaining a sense of community for local people and visitors. They contribute to a sense of place which, in turn, promotes community well-being. The restoration process also provides work for local companies.”

Over the next year, the SDF grant will be used to restore two finger posts, at Amen Corner and Whiteways Hill. The community is employing Frontline Sheet Metal Ltd, which is based in Wimborne, to make new letters, R&M Hall, a joinery company in Cranborne, to manufacture and paint any new fingers (the length of which varies depending on the number of letters in the place name) and Blandford Spraying to sand blast, acid etch and powder coat any traditional letters that can be salvaged. Once this work has been undertaken, Pat’s husband, Richard Hill, fixes the letters to the fingers with stainless steel screws. These then have to be hand-painted black. Finally, three local volunteers position the heavy new finger posts into position with brackets, painting the upright posts where necessary. 

One finger post, at Mead Lane West, has already been restored, using money raised by local residents.
Pat, who contacted Dorset AONB’s Sue Mitchell to find out what was involved before commencing the project, adds: “Restoring the finger post entails many hours of work. Put simply, the choice is to refurbish now and maintain the benefit for future generations or leave them to continue to rot away, never to be replaced except by plastic, which are pale facsimiles of the real thing. It is a process which unfortunately is already happening locally. Even the traditional posts are being replaced by plastic replicas, although in Gussage All Saints, thanks to the AONB SDF grant, traditional signs will still be seen for many years to come.”