Monday, 23 June 2008

Dangerous Directions

Driving from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster.

Near the village of Alveley there are three new signs clustered together on a single pole at a small turning to the right. The first sign is the standard symbol for a dead end, the second says 'sat nav error' and the third says 'walk on ferry'

Having once heard a sat nav try to tell its owner that he had reached his destination when he was still hurtling along the fast lane of the motorway, and on another occasion witnessed another device try to lure a driver onto railway tracks only to be thwarted by a closed gate, it doesn't seem surprising that people are being guided down this cul-de-sac, or that it is happening often enough for the authorities to feel the need to put up a warning sign.

For me the oddest sign of the three is instead the bottom one. Why is there a ferry service for pedestrians running at the end of this single track road that seems only to lead through uninhabited farmland. Who uses it and who operates it?

It is hard not to picture a ridiculously bucolic scene in which a smock-clad man with a straw hat on his head and a separate piece of straw in his mouth sedately punts the occupants of local farms and hamlets across the water to visit and do business with their counterparts on the other side.

However, a five minute Google in the evening reveals it to be a tourist attraction. The latest news I can find on it is from last year when the signs were first put up. The article also states that the ferry had been out of action since May when heavy rainfall caused the riverbank to collapse, making the third sign as inaccurate as the advice from the sat-navs.

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