What Is The Purpose Of A Village Gateway Sign?

Anyone who has travelled through the winding lanes of the UK’s picturesque countryside will be familiar with the village gateway sign. These not only serve the practical purpose of marking the entrance to the village and announcing its name, but they can also carry decorative or symbolic imagery and any secondary information about the village. 

Gateway signs are often fine examples of high quality craftsmanship made from zinc-plated wrought iron. They are familiar landmarks that can create a sense of pride in the local community, and provide interest for those who are passing through as well as marking the village boundary. 

The signs are often placed alongside traffic calming measures such as chicanes, mini roundabouts, or road narrowing to encourage drivers to slow down and stick to the speed limit. It is also common to find decorative flower beds or containers placed near the sign on a grass verge. 

Besides acting as a nameplate, the design usually showcases some aspect of the local identity, whether that’s folklore and legend, or a unique historical, architectural or geographical feature of the village. Some local councils will provide part funding for a gateway sign, or in some cases a Parish Council or Community Group may contribute.  

A classic example of a gateway sign is found in Newmarket, a town in Suffolk. Newmarket is of course world famous as the home of horse racing, so it is no surprise to find that the black and white boundary sign features a design of two stylised racehorses and jockeys. 

The sign also gives information about the overseas towns that Newmarket is twinned with, and there is a smaller secondary sign underneath that states ‘Slow Down & Give Way To Racehorses.”