In Britain during World War II road signs were taken down because of fears of a German invasion. The thinking was that it would slow down an advancing army. No signs, no directions. Travel for just a few miles in the British countryside and you soon see how confusing it would be without signs.
Signs are really helpful! Especially if you want to direct people to your farm gate or farm shop to buy produce. Help people out. Put up a sign and make it easy to find your outlet.
What kinds of signs can you use?
Signs come in a variety of materials and sizes. For your farm entrance you can choose from wooden, metal or plastic signs. There are a variety of recycled plastic signs available which are cheaper than metal and easier to maintain than wooden signs. If you are part of a farm accreditation scheme or registered with a body like the Soil Association, there are often subsidised signs available.
A hand painted wooden sign can be very appealing, just make sure the painting is weather proof so that the sign looks good for years to come.
Let’s say you only sell produce in the summer months, then you want temporary signage. PVC banners can be strung up on your fence line when you’re open for business. What about road signs?
Are there any regulations about signs?
On public roads in the UK, you may be able to get brown ‘tourist attraction’ signs but there are criteria to be met. The brown signs are regulated by the “Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002”. It is your local highways authority that authorises brown signs on local roads. Read more about brown signs in this article.
Where should you put signs?
If you were travelling from London to Penzance, just think how many signs you’d pass. So don’t think one sign will do the job. You need to direct people in from the nearest main road right to your farm. And it doesn’t stop there.
Just because they’ve turned down the farm track doesn’t mean they’ll end up knocking on the right door. Don’t forget signs to guide people from your entrance right up to the farm house or farm shop door. Why do you need so many?
Remember what it feels like when you’re in unfamiliar territory. You start to doubt your self. If there is no sign, you wonder which way to turn and strangely many people ignore the obvious way and go off down side turnings.
Plenty of signs reassure people that they are heading the right way. It also avoids them ending up in your slurry pit or hay barn. So what information should go on your signs?
What should you put on your farm signs?
Roadside signs need to be simple. The name of your farm shop with an appropriate symbol is enough for signs several miles from your farm. Look out for those brown signs that indicate tourist attractions and you’ll get the idea. Once you get to the entrance you can add more details, your farm name, logo and any symbols you can use such as organic certification symbol.
Next to the door of the farmhouse or farm shop, put up a sign with even more information such as the opening hours of the shop, a contact number and website if you have one.
What if you don’t want customers in the winter?
You can simply have a sign below your farm name, which says ‘open’ on one side and ‘closed’ on the other. Bed & Breakfast places do a similar thing with ‘vacancies’ and ‘no vacancies’. If you want to make it extra clear, you could have the opening times at the farm entrance. For example,
Open June to September only, Mon – Sat, 8-6pm.
Don’t make people work to find your farm, use signs to guide them in
With no current threat of invasion you don’t need to skimp on signs. Even with sat navs, people like the reassurance that they are on the right track. Invest in clear, good quality signage and guide people right to the door of your farmhouse or shop.
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