Stone sculpture in Kirkby Stephen
The Upper Eden area of Cumbria now firmly back in the Westmorland Dales with the expanded Yorkshire Dales National Park and the change to Westmorland and Furness Council unitary authority, has long been celebrated for its stunning landscape and geology. Some of this area is alternatively in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty designated an UNESCO Global Geopark. In and around Kirkby Stephen there are many stone sculptures to enjoy during your walks. You may also spot our local Brockram stone or enjoy a geology walk.
Andy Goldsworthy lived and worked in the area before his international fame and was commissioned in 1996 to celebrate our culturally historical sheepfolds. Each occupies a unique place in our villages and today there are Andy Goldsworthy Pinfold Cairns in nearby Church Brough, Warcop, Outhgill.
Between 1992 and 2008, the East Cumbria Countryside Project worked with artists to produce ten contemporary stone sculptures located at intervals along the length of the River Eden from its source in the Mallerstang Valley and Rockliffe where it runs into the Solway Firth. We are fortunate to have two sculptures locally. ‘The Passage’ by Laura White is located next to the cascading river in Stenkrith Park. Everyone’s favourite is ‘The Watercut’ by Mary Bourne which stands on the ancient ‘Highway’ in Mallerstang against the backdrop of the surrounding Mallerstang Edge and Wild Boar Fell.
Twelve short poems, written by the nationally acclaimed poet Meg Peacocke, have been carved by lettering artist Pip Hall on blocks of stone installed at intervals along a circular short trail either side of the River Eden in Kirkby Stephen. The aim was to introduce a permanent and integrated interpretative experience into the landscape with poems reflecting the hill farmers year.
See further information on the above and the work of Dick Capel can be seen on his website Eden Benchmarks. Two guided walks on 8th and 14th September have been planned to include some of these artistic works see What’s on.
Back in Kirkby Stephen, the Upper Eden Visitor Centre is flanked by two carved stone seats by Kenneth Allen. Opposite is the “Lady Anne’s Way” bronze sculpture by Diane Lawrenson, which aims to capture the indomitable spirit of Lady Anne Clifford – striding onward and determined. Lady Anne’s Way is a 100-mile long distance walk with historical links.
Finally, we have recently been thrilled to see a ‘Borrowdale Banksy’ emerge on the path towards Nine Standards Rigg on the Wainwright Coast to Coast footpath as illustrated.