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Irwell Sculpture Trail
2008-08-28

Irwell Sculpture Trail

The Lookout is a sculpture site on the trail The Irwell Sculpture Trail is a major public art initiative which has commissioned work from more that 50 regional, national and international artists in the five year period up to 2002. These include major sculptures by Edward Allington, Ulrich Ruchreim, Stefan Gec and Ian Randall. The Sculpture Trail is based around the well-established 30 mile Irwell Valley Trail, following the River Irwell from Salford Quays, through Bury to Rossendale, and continuing to the river's source in the wild Pennine Moors north of Bacup. Twenty eight environmental art pieces have been created along the Way to form the Irwell Sculpture Trail. Developing Residencies; Community Sculptures; International Commissions and 1st out bursary Design Competitions. Background The project began in 1987 with artists working on relatively small-scale commissions in Rossendale to celebrate the landscape and industrial heritage of the area. The success of this project led the four local authorities responsible for the Irwell Valley – Lancashire County Council, Salford City Council, Bury Metropolitan Borough Council and Rossendale Borough Council – to make a joint bid in March 1996 to the National Lottery Arts Fund via the Arts Council of England. In October 1996, the Arts Council made an award of £2.3 million towards the project, within a total budget of £4.2 million. The four partners have each committed funding and officer time annually over the project term. Following the Trail This 3.5 mile linear walk, taking approx.1 - 1.5 hours, follows the Irwell Sculpture Trail from Ramsbottom Station (large car park), to Irwell Vale Station, enabling you to combine a ride on the train with a countryside walk. Gradients are gentle but it can be muddy in places especially after wet weather. If you want a longer walk of about 5.5 miles, which will take about 2.5 hours, you can use this walk together with leaflet 4, and then you can walk-ride from Ramsbottom to Rawtenstall Station. Hourly trains run at weekends, allowing return from Irwell Vale Station or Rawtenstall Station. Midweek, useful bus services are 90 and 481 Rawtenstall to Bury via Edenfield and Ramsbottom (half hourly) plus 273 Rawtenstall to Bolton via Edenfield and Ramsbottom (hourly). From Irwell Vale this involves a half mile walk, east-wards up the valley side, past the church to Market Street, Edenfield. In the Picture - Richard Caink 1997 In the Picture - Richard Caink 1997 Materials: European larch and elm. The sculpture comprises a large scale picture frame and several carvings that frame the view along the valley. The visitor can step into the picture as both viewer and subject matter. The frame refers to traditional landscape painting of the 18th & 19th Century, often used to display land ownership. The carvings are artefacts that relate to the industry in the valley and the loom-wreckers rebellion of 1826 at Chatterton Mill.

 

Remnant Kings - lan Randall 1997 Remnant Kings - lan Randall 1997 Materials: Ash, steel and dry stone walling. The sculpture refers to the remnants of the once thriving textile and mining industries of the area and what may develop in the Valley for the future. The large timber sections made from local ash are cradled in cogs. This structure suggests movement, throwing the timber forward and releasing the stones within its folds, like seeds bringing new growth. "Remnant Kings stands proud on the hillside watching over its kingdom waiting for its chance to scatter".

 

Tilted Vase - Edward Allington, 1998 Tilted Vase - Edward Allington, 1998 Materials: Bronze. The IST public commission in this country by internationally renowned Sculptor Edward Allington. The sculpture for Ramsbottom draws on the legacy of the Industrial Revolution in the Valley and is a "Monument to that past and a symbol of continuity and of change for the future". The sculpture is a fountain in the form of a vase, tilted, spilling water into the ground. The vase is classical in shape reflecting the architecture, built in sections and bolted together to look like a machine.

 

The River - Hetty Chapman & Karen Allerton 1997 The River - Hetty Chapman & Karen Allerton 1997 Materials: Etched stainless steel and railway sleepers. The River is an 88 metre path which meanders through the site ending in a platform to watch the passing trains. The sculpture contains work created by local people: poems celebrating the river by Lucy Wilton and Richard Renzulli; and the illustrated story of Jacob's Ladder, a local beauty spot, by Ramsbottom Inters Youth Group. A collection of poems created for the project can be found at Ramsbottom Heritage Society.

 

The Irwell Valley Sculpture Trail has been developed along a 30-mile route up the Irwell Valley, formerly known as The Irwell Valley Way. Sculptures have been appearing along the Trail since 1987 from the Manchester Ship Canal at Salford Quays following the river to its source on the South Pennine Moors. Thanks to an Arts Lottery award, there are currently 20 sculptures along the Trail, with a further 30 proposed by 2002, celebrating the area's heritage, culture and landscape.

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