During late 2014 / early 2015, the Farnham Trust carried out a photographic survey of the remaining milestones on the roads out of Farnham, to record them for posterity and also to help ensure their preservation.
Milestones can be found on four roads leading out of Farnham. These roads were all Turnpikes in the late 18th and 19th centuries; Turnpike roads were introduced in the 18th century as a way of improving the very poor state of roads across the country and in return for maintaining the roads, the trusts that ran the turnpikes were allowed to charge tolls with toll houses constructed at regular intervals along the roads. Each turnpike required an act of Parliament and there was a legal requirement on the trusts to place milestones along the roads.
The roads from Farnham were:
- the road to Alton, now the A31 (part of the Winchester Turnpike, formed 1753)
- the road to Guildford, now also the A31 (the Guildford and Farnham Turnpike Trust, formed 1757)
- the road to Bagshot, now the A325 (part of the Winchester Turnpike, formed 1753)
- the road to Odiham, now the A287 (the Odiham and Farnham Turnpike Trust, formed 1789)
Ordnance Survey maps from the 19th century show a total of 35 milestones on these four roads and the Trust’s survey has identified 18 that are still in place today.
There was a fifth road from Farnham, the Petersfield Road, the responsibility of the Farnham and Petersfield Turnpike Trust which was formed in 1826. However there is no evidence of milestones along that road although there would still have been an obligation on the trust to place them. The turnpike is recorded as being 15 miles with 4 toll gates and bars from “a place called Coxbridge near Farnham to Ramshill near Petersfield” with toll gates and bars at Holt Pound Gate, Sleaford Gate, Greatham Bar and Bowyer’s Gate.
During the last 50 years, there have been a considerable number of alterations and improvements to these roads so in many cases the milestone is no longer on the main road but on what has become a side road. Many have disappeared where dual carriageways have been built; only one remains on the Hogs Back A31 to Guildford although in two cases a milestone can be found today in the central reservation of a dual carriageway.
There is one milestone in the centre of Farnham at the junction of Bear Lane and East Street showing 38 miles to London, 12 miles to Bagshot, 9 miles to Alton and 26 miles to Winton (Winchester).
View location on map Google Street View image
There are separate web pages describing and showing the milestones on each of the four roads: