Waymarking, in North America trail blazing, is the posting of waymarks, which are signs placed along a route to help travelers follow the route. Cairns are another common form. They may be intended for travelers on foot, on a bicycle, on a horse, in a vehicle or in any mode of transportation. The inuksuk was an early type of waymark. Milestones, common in Europe, are also a form of waymark.
Waymarks typically consist of a specific symbol, which is repeated at frequent intervals along the route. An example is the characteristic white and red stripes that mark a GR footpath in France. These waymarks sometimes mark the route in one direction, but more often allow the route to be followed in either direction. One example is the standardized sign posted along the 49-Mile Scenic Drive in San Francisco, California, which can be joined at any point along the route. Other highways such as Route 66 or Pacific Coast Highway are often waymarked.
The hiking path waymarked may be a specific named route, such as the Pennine Way, or may more generally be any public right of way. National Trails in the United Kingdom generally use an acorn symbol. The National Cycle Network in the UK uses sculptural markers made of cast iron. The mark may also indicate the status of the route, for example in England yellow marks indicate footpaths, blue for bridleways and red for byways open to all traffic.
Retailers sometimes also use a form of waymarking to draw motorists to the location of their store. Temporary waymarks are used for special events such as charity walks. Similar marks are also used by local fairs, fêtes or even firework nights. The signs are typically posters strapped to railings or lamp posts; or a standard symbol is used.
Local governments have also adopted waymarking as a method of increasing awareness of local points of interest.
Representative samples of waymarks:
Acorn symbol used to guide the route of National Trails in Great Britain
A Hampshire County Council footpath Waymarker, Southern England
Clapham Park, Bedfordshire, England
Bridleway, Kinniside Common, Lake District, England
South West Coast Path, England
The characteristic white and red stripes that mark a GR footpath in France
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