Friday, 28 August 2015

Sculpture trail: Ramsbottom

Thank you for all the comments about my family history: I'm glad you enjoyed it, sad though it was. Today it's back to showing you one of the days out we've had while I've been on holiday this last week. We decided to follow some more of the Irwell Sculpture Trail. As most of the sculptures are conveniently placed in clusters*, we (that's me, Chickpea and her boyfriend) headed to Ramsbottom where we'd be able to see four of them.

The satnav took us to the small hamlet of Strongstry. From there it's just a short stroll along the river to the first sculpture...

...In The Picture. This is by Richard Caink and 'refers to traditional landscape paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries'. As I was writing this, much to my surprise, I found that the web site also refers to other carvings along the footpath. I've looked at the photo and it does look like there should be other wooden structures just through the frame.

Well, there's no sign of them now. Either that or we're just very unobservant. I prefer to think that than to contemplate that someone has removed them.

However, it didn't spoil our enjoyment at the time. Lots of fun was had posing in the frame!

Across the river and fields, we could see the backs of the cottages we'd parked by.

The path continued though the grass...

...and then along a muddy section bordered by nettles and thistles. Ouch!

But what are those grazing in the field?

Oh! Alpacas! Well, I think they're alpacas.

Not what you expect to find in East Lancashire!

Smile for the camera!

Back on the trail and we cross a brook...

...and wave at a passing train. This is on the East Lancashire Railway where we had the afternoon tea. No steam trains today, just the diesel service.

Is this a sculpture? No, just some abandoned farming equipment.

The sculpture is this way. As an aside, I think this may well be the first sign I've seen pointing out the location of a sculpture. More of these would be very helpful as they're not always the easiest to find.

Anyway, up the hill and you come to Remnant Kings by Ian Randall.

Ian's sculpture 'refers to the remnants of the once thriving textile and mining industries of the area'.

'The large timber sections made from local ash are cradled in cogs'. The structure 'suggests movement, throwing the timber forward and releasing the stones within its folds, like seeds bringing new growth.'

I really liked this one with the carving and stone mosaic.

Time to wave at the train again on its return journey.

And to admire the views along the valley...

...before heading down the path along the railway line...

...and crossing beneath it... emerge on the cycle way which will take us back to Strongstry.

The cycle path joins the route of a disused railway line.

These arches take the line over the Irwell.

There's no sign of it now except for the stone walls. I wonder who W.H.S. was?

Colourful owl graffiti on one of the bridges.

And back into Strongstry village.

The cottage with the yellow door was so pretty.

Chickpea and Ben liked this one though because it had dragons in the window and wizards in the garden!

We got back into the car and headed down into Ramsbottom to find the final two sculptures.

Tilted vase,by Edward Allington, is in the centre of town on a busy main road and on the site of the old market.

I've passed by it several times before, not realising it was part of a sculpture trail.

A short stroll away in a green area sandwiched between the river and the railway line is The River by Hetty Chapman and Karen Allerton.

It's an 88 metre stainless steel path inscribed with poems which snakes its way over the grass and paving stones.

At the end of the path are 34 wooden posts made from railway sleepers.

Some of them have metal plaques which tell a story. Jacob's ladder isn't the biblical tale but a long flight of steps in nearby Nuttall. The full text of the story and the poems can be seen here.

It's a pretty spot with the weir on one side.

And views of Peel Tower on Holcombe Hill. Well, if you ignore the traffic.

And so concluded the first part of our journey. It was only mid-afternoon and too early to call it a day. I suggested walking up to Peel Tower but Chickpea didn't fancy the climb. I think she might have changed her mind if she'd seen where we ended up going to next!

*If you want to see the sculptures we've visited before, you can see the Rawtenstall cluster here and the Clifton cluster here.


  1. So lovely to go exploring with you!! xx

  2. Yes, I enjoyed exploring with you too! Some interesting pieces there and some lovely views.