Pendle Sculpture Trail

by Kat Weatherill

Pendle Hill on a glorious summers day

Pendle Hill is steeped in history, from the Pendle Witch Trials. {These are the most well-known and documented trials of alleged Witchcraft, with their 400 year anniversary this year.} To the visit of George Fox in 1652, who its is claimed had a ‘vision’ whilst on the top of Pendle and then went on to found the Quaker movement.

I just know it as home! I have lived on both ‘sides’ of the hill {Clitheroe and Barley} which leads to many discussions as to which is the “reight side o’ th’hill”! On this occasion I shall sit firmly on the fence! {or should the be – dry stone wall?}

To mark the 400 year anniversary of the Witch Trials, a Sculpture Trail is being created within Aitken Wood in Barley, which will be launched on 18th August this year, with work by 4 leading artists, it begins, after a short walk, just past Black Moss Reservoirs…..

As you enter the woods the sculptures start to appear, from a wood carving of a life-sized man ‘The Witch Finder General’ by Martyn Bednarczuk. To 10 individual ceramic plaques, by Sarah McDade, scattered through the walk on existing tree stumps, representing each of the local people condemned in the trials. These plaques also include prints of herbs and plants used in 1612. Sarah also created this stunning ceramic ‘totem pole’ sculpture……

Further along the path more contemporary sculptural pieces emerge, this time by Philippe Handford, who along with Michael Williams, the leader of Pendle Tourism, conceived the original idea for this inspiring woodland trail. Philippe’s sculptures use mainly the wood of trees that have been felled and wind-blown with forged metal, creating a beautiful mix of textures and shapes, which play with the dappled forest light to enhance the sculptures giving them an architectural quality…..

There were many more sculptures to see including ‘Spirits of the Woods’. Plus artist Steve Blaylock caused a few ‘Oooh! look’ moments, when we spotted hidden in the tree tops a large spiders web, and owl and this cloud of bats…..

It was a privilege to see these works of art in one of the most beautiful galleries I have walked through. And the walk home was pretty special to I think you will agree…..

Remember the trail launches on 18th August so make a note in your diary, in the mean time you can visit www.visitpendle.com to download more information plus you will find a programme of events for the Pendle Witches Festival.

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