April – October 2023: VOLUNTEERS needed:  can you help?

In summer 2023 we are hoping donations will help us to start Phase 1 of the Signage Maintenance project. Phase 1 will consist of replacing lost signs e.g. Polish War Cemetery sign in St Mary’s Churchyard, purchase of portable battery powered tools which will enable maintenance of some signs.

In what way can you help?

ADOPT a Sign Would you be able to adopt a sign on any of your regular walks, reporting it when any repair urgently needed?
Maintenance Would you be able to help with maintenance of a sign- e.g. sanding it and revarnishing?
Erection of a sign Would you be able to help our expert in erecting a sign? Do you have carpentry skills? can you mix concrete?
Cleaning Would you be able to help in cleaning the main panel clear of detritus and graffitti?
Litter Picking Would you be able to keep the area clear of litter around the sign?

If you are able to help there are 2 ways to get involved:

a.  Joining GMDT as a Volunteer –  – benefits – you will have GMDT Liability insurance covering you – see https://gmdt.net/about-us/volunteers

b.  You can get involved, at your own risk, just by sending an email to info@gmdt.org, our GMDT Environment lead will contact you when the next Maintenance activity will take place.

Signage / Interpretation

Non statutory signage such as information boards erected by the Trust and various other parties in the last decade or so has made a major contribution in improving Morpeth town’s resident and visitor offer. We have recorded some 106 signs primarily in and around the Town Centre and various nearby countryside locations, with a view to ensuring that these are satisfactorily maintained. This signage is quite varied and ranges from finger posts, to interpretation panels incorporating wildlife artwork and heritage information, directional signs with town maps, and appreciably older distance indicator structures or panels.

In Summer 2016 we carried out a major signage audit to confirm location, current condition, and to identify potential new sites. Of the 106 signs we reviewed, 21 were assessed as needing immediate repair and maintenance, and work to 5 was directly undertaken by Trust volunteers.

After discussion with Morpeth Town Council we were delighted that they agreed to resource the remainder of the maintenance programme later that year, and on an ongoing basis. This signage audit, which also includes photographs, will enable GMDT or any other party to more readily monitor the condition of Morpeth’s non statutory signage at regular intervals. The survey also includes a number of possible additional signs which were identified in the Castle Woods & Water project, but not erected because of resource limits eg. Mitford Castle / Morpeth Castle. Consequently there remains scope to supplement the current provision if further resources can be identified.

2023 – Replacing lost signs

A further survey was completed in June 2022 and a number of signs have been damaged / become a danger needing to be taken down. 

It is hoped in 2023 funding can be obtained to address the replacement of signs that are no longer in situ – e.g. The St Mary’s Churchyard sign to the WW2 Polish war cemetery. 

2024-27  Full Sign upgrade

It is hoped that we can pull together a group of volunteers who can look to maintain the existing signs ad where needed refresh/replace the information plate of signs that are looking weather-beaten. Working in partnership with our partner Morpeth Litter Group and their Adopt a Street volunteers we will be asking if they can Adopt a Sign during their walks – reporting the nominated sign if any repair / maintenance is required.

To achieve this large scale funding will be required to support the many replacement of signs.

Carlisle Park – Steps

In recent years Morpeth has increasingly benefitted from forms of street art and landscape features added to its townscape. We feel this adds to the character and uniqueness of the town, although not everyone might agree on the merits of some features! In 2017, as another example of our work we repainted the poem on the 100 steps and bandstand in Carlisle Park. In 2023, unfortunately the paint has started to wear away and a new project is required to repaint the steps – it is hoped to complete in 2023.