Sunday, 18 September 2016

Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail

I'm struggling to find time for blogging at the moment, or even just logging on to the PC. A symptom of being back at work and adjusting to the work/eat/sleep routine. Luckily I had this post halfway written from when I was on leave a couple of weeks ago so I do have something to share today.

Back at the end of August, we headed to Clitheroe to visit the Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail which was launched just over 20 years ago and includes around 20 works of art. It takes you through Brungerley Park and Cross Hill Quarry with most of the sculptures having been inspired by the local area and wildlife. There's a leaflet with a map and description of each sculpture which you can download here.

We started at the Waddington Road end which is closest to the town centre.

First up was 'Common Comfrey' by Halima Cassell, a representation of the comfrey plants which can be found along the trail, not that we saw any that day.

Mushrooms in the undergrowth.

This is 'The Cook House' by Helen Calaghan. It was difficult to work out what it was without the close-up and the leaflet. Get ready to go 'ewww'! as it's a pan boiling over with tripe! The fossils represent those found in the limestone which underlies much of the area.

This one wasn't part of the official trail and had lost the front of his face, poor thing! I think he's meant to be an otter but it was hard to tell :(

'Leaving Touch' - Kerry Morrison

Beautiful views over the Ribble valley.



These are two of the steel  waymarkers by David Appleyard. The plaques on top were developed in workshops with local schoolchildren.

'Fir cone' - Halima Cassell

After an open section, the path moved into the wooded section. Welcome shade on a hot day.

This was Chickpea's favourite: 'Sika Deer' by Clare Bigger. Apparently, real ones are found in the area after being introduced from Japan in the 19th century. Clare has done some amazing work - look at 'Leaping Man' on her website.

More beautiful views of the river Ribble, which wends its way from the Yorkshire Dales to the Irish Sea.

'Great Burnet' - Halima Cassell

At this point, we emerged at the far end of the park which is actually part of Cross Hill Quarry nature reserve. I hadn't realised it was run by the Wildlife Trust which was a nice surprise given I became a member after taking part in 30 Days Wild. More about the quarry shortly.

'Thistle' - Halima Cassell

We walked along the road for a few hundred yards and then back through another entrance into the reserve.

'Wildlife seat' - Martyn Bednarckzuk

I think this was my favourite sculpture as I loved all the carvings which stood out beautifully in the bright sunshine. The stone came from the park.

This is the view from the bench, looking across the valley to the Bowland Fells.

'Otter' - Fiona Bowley

One of three mosaic waymarkers by Paul Smith, again developed with local schoolchildren.

At this point, you follow a path into a clearing formed by the old quarry which was last worked in 1910.

The footprints by Thompson Dagnall were tricky to spot and difficult to photograph. Clever though. You could imagine them having been left there centuries ago.

I'd love to come back in spring to see which wildflowers grow in the clearing as there was lots to see in late summer. I wish I'd had more time to explore but we were starting to get hungry and there was still more to find.

'Lords and Ladies' - Halima Cassell

'Wildlife' by Louise Worrell, inspired by Victorian mosaics in the doorways of the shops in Clitheroe.

'As the crow flies' by David Halford. Annoyingly, we only realised when looking at the photos on the leaflet more closely later that there's a bird hiding amongst the leaves at the top. Well, unless someone had decided to take it home, which is what we suspect has happened to another of the sculptures which we searched high and low for and couldn't find.

'Brook' by David Appleyard. The poem on the top is by Pam Stewart who I think might be from America. I couldn't read it all from my photos but here's what I can make out:

'A green and watery place, Or will we muddy the waters? Watch this space.
Smile, shout, laugh long and loud. ...on...lovely banks. You the caretaker.'

The fast-flowing Ribble.

I'd come down to the riverside to find the next sculpture which was 'Fish mobile' by Julie Ann Seaman.

Further along and higher up in the park, this one is called 'Two Heads' (by Thompson Dagnall). We could only see the one though.

Last one, 'Alder cone' by Halima Cassell.

We really enjoyed this trail but then we do prefer walks where there are things to look out for. It's such a beautiful area too and there are lots of other footpaths and walks we could have explored. I think we'll be back :) For now though it was time to head into Clitheroe town centre to find somewhere to eat.

After seeing it on Shazza's blog, our destination was the Atrium cafe at the castle. I really wanted to try the picnic lunch which she'd written about but it wasn't available that day :( Instead we had to settle for their platter. All delicious, though I'd have liked more bread (one slice was a bit mean with 3 different things to spread on it).

Fully restored we decided to have a quick look around the castle.

Georgeous views across to Pendle Hill.

The cafe is the lower building. The others house the museum (entry charge) and an art gallery (free).

All along the courtyard wall were these plaques marking points in the town's history. I hadn't heard of Peg O'Nell but Chickpea went on a girl guide weekend at Waddow Hall which she's said to haunt! Luckily, Chickpea didn't know that at the time...

I didn't know this story either about Henry VI. Or that hipping stones are another term for stepping stones. So the plaques proved to be very interesting and enlightening. Lovely to see the braille on them too.

Up at the castle, we had a quick look in the keep. This is really all that remains of the early medieval fortress.

The best part is the 360 degree views from the walkway.

The town was looking pretty with all the bunting strung across the streets.

Another view of Pendle Hill.

As we were leaving the castle grounds, I spotted this white structure which I hadn't noticed on the way in.

It's one of the waymarkers on a 51-mile walk from Barrowford to Lancaster. The poem on top is one of the verses (or tercets) from 'Lancashire Witches' by Carol Ann Duffy which you can read here.  It was written as part of the Lancashire Witches 400 project which commemorated 400 years since the famous trials. Each of the waymarkers has one of the tercets and also the name of one of the people who were hung - in this case, Isabel Robey. I feel a project coming on to track down all the other waymarkers!

After this, we had a wander round the shops, mostly independents rather than the usual chain stores, and then headed for home. A lovely day out.

Well, I'm off to mow the lawn before tea (that's our evening meal for you non-Northerners!). Then some relaxation. Maybe watching the video of the veil dance we're learning at my belly dancing class. Yes the class, I'm loving it so much! Jingling around and wafting bits of chiffon about - what's not to love! Everyone is so friendly and we all leave the class with massive smiles. Highly recommended if you can find a class near you.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. xx