Designing sheep-proof signs at Maiden Castle

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Our latest project for English Heritage, Maiden Castle in Dorset, comes with a unique challenge, one that is a bit different to our more typical conundrums of lost pedestrians or confused visitors.

If you’ve never been to Maiden Castle before you might expect to see turrets and ramparts. But Maiden Castle is actually an archaeological site and one of the largest Iron Age hillforts in Europe.

The site, which was once home to a castle, also contains the archaeological remains of a Roman temple and an Iron Age cemetery. It’s one of English Heritage’s free sites, meaning that it’s open to the public. The trouble is, it’s also open to the local sheep population too.

The existing signage has been getting rather a battering from sheep who graze across the site and we’ve been instructed to come up with a redesign.

Guy Warren, Placemarque’s Design Director, said: “We often have to design weather-proof or vandal-proof signage, but it’s not often we are asked to come up with a sheep-proof design!

Maiden Castle is a fascinating site and this is an opportunity to revisit the existing approach to signage across the site and think about how we can not only improve the durability of signs, but also improve legibility across the site.”

Following a site visit earlier this month, we are now on with bringing together a concept for the site’s interpretation and wayfinding signage, due to be installed in 2022.

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