Guide Stones

Parish Tour Events Clubs Churches P.Council History Services Days Out

Several sturdy granite markers were set up at the roadside at forks or junctions around the Parish in c1820s by the Turnpike Trust of Newton Bushel.  Each of the stones had directions to nearest towns or villages either carved or painted onto their faces and were placed largely for the benefit of travellers on horseback.  From looking at old OS maps it seems that at one time a good number of these stones were dotted across the Parish but today it seems that just six are still extant.  Many were taken down when motor travel increased whilst others may have been removed during the Second World War as a precautionary measure.   As such the cluster of six that do remain, are not only rare but also an important reminder of days when road travel was more sedate.  It is very important that the stones are protected and preserved for future generations to enjoy.  The existing stones can be found at:

Five Cross (SX 782 749):  This stone shows directions to Bovey/Manaton/Ashburton and Newton and sits beside a more modern wooden finger post.  Black paint follows the main inscription.
Haytor Vale on B3387 (SX 768 773): This stone is rather worn but shows directions to Ashburton/Widecombe/ Bovey and Manaton.  Only residues of black paint remain.
Lower Corner of Ilsington Playing Fields near the Methodist Chapel (SX 780 759): This stone shows directions to Ashburton/Manaton and Ilsington and is Grade II listed. The legend is painted on in black.
Sigford Cross (SX 777 752):  This stone is part buried in a hedge at the cross but shows directions to Manaton/Ashburton/Ilsington and Newton. It retains its paint cover if a little worn and has a black painted base.  
Willis Cross (Now Wills Cross - SX 799 753):  This stone shows directions to Ilsington/Ashburton and Newton which are also painted black.
Wood House Cross (SX 794 764):  This stone shows directions to Newton/Bovey/Manaton and Ilsington on its faces which have been carved into the granite.

For those of you interested in further information on the roadside guide stones of the area you may find the following articles of interest:

Jenkinson T (2006) 'Guiding the Way: the old roadside guide stones of Dartmoor': Dartmoor Magazine no 83 Summer

Jenkinson T (2004) ' Marking the Road'  Devon Life July p120-121.

Masson Phillips E (1972) 'Roadside Stones in Devon' Devon Historian October p16-18

Masson Phillips E (1943) 'Notes on Some Old Roadside Stones in South West Devon': Transactions of Devonshire Association Vol LXXV p141-165.

In addition to this, the Milestone Society, a Registered Charity which seeks to record and preserve where possible older mile markers and guide stones across the UK, can offer advice on the preservation and restoration of such stones.  Click here to access their website.

Thanks to Tim Jenkinson of Liverton for submitting the information and pictures for this page.

Parish Tour Events Clubs Churches P.Council History Services Days Out