The Preston to Garstang Turnpike Trust was set up in 1751. Today, the A6 road follows much of its length. Along the road at regular intervals are a set of milestones put in place by the trust, some time between the mid to late 1700s. Large, and beautifully carved, they are the most impressive series of milestones in the whole of Lancashire.
Much larger than most other milestones, they measure around a metre in height and are a work of art. It is rare for such a sequence to survive in place. The Historic England website states that there are ten, but this seems to be an error as the Milestone Society states that there are nine. (Authors note: Our own survey of them also only found nine).
Each stone has two faces – cursive writing giving the distance to Garstang and Preston respectively, accurate to a quarter of a mile. On the base of each milestone, the name of the parish it stands in is carved in block capitals.
Below in the ‘Access’ section is a list, in order, of the milestones. Suggestions of where to park to view each one is also included.
Sites visited by A. and S. Bowden 2021
Eight of the nine mile stones are on the left hand side of the road, as you head north from Preston to Garstang. The only one on the right hand side is number six at Bilsborrow. Note that the original turnpike road branches off from the A6 just before Garstang on to the B6430.
The location of each of the nine milestones is set out below. A six figure grid reference is given for each one. Grid references can be used on the A-Z and Phillips Street Atlases.
Where possible, places to park are listed. However, these are mainly residential streets, and new parking restrictions could be imposed after the time of writing of this article, so check before you park.
1) Grid Reference: 532 323. On A6 Garstang Road. ‘BROUGHTON’ is carved into the base. It is situated just to the north of the turn leading into the UCLAN Harris Centre (formerly the Harris Orphanage). Park on Regent Road and walk back down the road to see it.
2) Grid Reference 529 338. On A6 Garstang Road. ‘BROUGHTON’ is carved into the base. It is just north of the turn in leading to Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service. There are no obvious places to park nearby. The nearest street to park on would be Highfield Drive, walk up to it by heading north.
3) Grid Reference 523 354. On Garstang Road (formerly the A6). ‘BARTON’ is carved into the base. Note that milestone is on the road that travels through Broughton, not on the new bypass (called James Towers Way). The milestone is just north of the farm. Park on Halshaw Drive and walk up.
4) Grid Reference 517 367. On A6 Garstang Road. ‘BARTON’ is carved into the base. The mile post is just before the farm. Park at The Sidings and walk up.
5) Grid Reference 514 383. On A6 Garstang Road. ‘BARTON’ is carved into the base. It is just to the north of the Barton Bangla Brasserie. Park at Barton Village Hall and walk up.
6) Grid Reference 511 398. On A6 Garstang Road in Bilsborrow village. ‘MYERSCOUGH’ is carved into the base. The mile stone is on the right hand side of the road, opposite the Post Office. Limited parking at the Post Office. Alternatively park at Bilsborrow Village Hall and walk back down the main road.
7) Grid Reference 508 414. On A6 Garstang Road. ‘CLAUGHTON’ is carved into the base. To the north of Stanzaker Hall Drive. Park in the layby just before Stanzaker Hall Drive and walk up the road.
After milestone number seven, the A6 continues as the Garstang bypass. Do not go onto the bypass. Instead, take the right hand fork onto the original road to Garstang, the B6430.
8) Grid Reference 500 427. On B6430 in Catterall village. ‘CATTERALL’ is carved into the base. The milestone is situated between the post box and bus stop. Park on Joe Lane and walk up.
9) Grid Reference 495 441. On B6430 in Bowgreave village. ‘BARNACRE’ is carved into the base. The milestone is located between a row of large semi-detached red brick houses that give way to some detached houses. The milestone is just past the first detached house, next to the lamp post. There are no obvious side roads to park in. Some cars park on the main road itself. Alternatively, park a little to the north in the Bywater Lane North/ Dimples Lane residential area and walk back down.
The database of the Milestone Society: msocrepository.co.uk/excel-spreadsheet-files/