Heritage often focuses on ruins, conserved and interpreted for visitors. Heritage signs themselves often become historical components of these ruins themselves, as previously discussed, for example, for Kidwelly Castle and various megalithic tombs on Anglesey such as Ty Newydd.

Therefore it is doubly tragic to see the ruination of heritage boards themselves. Investment in such features upon heritage trails ebbs and flows, but more commonly ebbs… The decay of these signs reveals the neglect of our heritage assets, not only in musuems, government and education, but also out in the British landscape.

I recently encountered examples at Ruabon.

This is particularly disappointing since this post-industrial landscape harbours some nationally and internationally important ancient monuments: namely Offa’s Dyke and Wat’s Dyke: early medieval frontier works of the early medieval kingdom of Mercia dating to the late 8th and early 9th centuries respectively. Moreover, the Y Garden hillfort is particularly significant as a small, badly damaged hillfort of presumed Iron Age date, but located immediately west of, and overlooking Offa’s Dyke and the later church and town of Ruabon.

The Offa’s Dyke sign was dirty, faded, and in a rather incongruous location because I only spotted it at the end of my walk. Upon it is dense bilingual text and a map showing the walks one might take to the hillfort, dyke and town.

The Y Garden hillfort sign, situated beside covered on the lane beside Pen-Y-Gardden lane, now blank but for a ‘Scouts’ sticker

The Y Garden hillfort sign matched the other and so I presume it once had text upon it. It is now completely blank.

The Wat’s Dyke sign, now covered in mould and devoured by brambles.

These signs clearly form part of a same heritage trail around Ruabon, I presume dating to the late ’90s or thereabouts. I’ve talked about the now out-of-date Wat’s Dyke sign board on the other side of Ruabon, as discussed here, and they are clearly all part of the same slow death of Ruabon’s heritage.