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Hunt is on for artists for Pendle Sculpture Trail

Published: Thursday, 2nd November 2017

Martyn Bednarczuk's carving of the Witchfinder General.

Martyn Bednarczuk's carving of the Witchfinder General at the start of the Pendle Sculpture Trail.

The Pendle Sculpture trail under Pendle Hill is on the hunt for inspiring artists to develop the trail.

Hidden in Aitken Wood, near the village of Barley, the trail was first launched in 2012 for the 400th anniversary of the Pendle Witches of 1612.

“The trail includes a range of sculptures which help tell the true story of the Pendle Witches,” explained Pendle Council’s leader for tourism, Councillor Eileen Ansar.

“Other sculptures have been inspired by the natural world in this wild and beautiful corner of Lancashire,” she said.

They include dramatic tree arches and an intricately constructed giant spider’s web.

Tourism Officer, Mike Williams is leading on the project to develop the trail.  He said:

“We want to involve a number of artists in producing work of great quality to inspire

visitors who explore the Pendle Sculpture Trail.

“We’re looking for creative work which reflects the setting, which is in an atmospheric woodland looking across to Pendle Hill,” he said.

Artists have until 12 noon on 24 November to submit their bids and Pendle Council’s free guide and map for the Sculpture Trail is available on with more details via

“Pendle is famous for its connection to dramatic events in history,” said Mike.

“These include the Pendle Witches and George Fox’s vision on Pendle Hill in 1652.

“The area is also the birthplace of 17th century mathematician Sir Jonas Moore, known as the Father of Time, 400 years ago this year.

“We are looking for work which is new and exciting but also in keeping with other elements of the Pendle Sculpture Trail,” added Mike.

The theme of the Pendle Witches is explored by some of the existing artwork  there.

Visitors can guess which witch is witch from ten individually designed ceramic plaques placed on the trees, each representing one of the ten infamous Pendle Witches.

Mike explained:

“Though we’d like other themes to be explored, this type of creative work helps the many families and school groups which go on the trail to inter-act with the sculptures.

“it’s definitely something we’d like to see more of,” he said.

Artists can bid to have their work form part of this popular free visitor attraction and there is scope for smaller pieces, and much larger ones.

“We want to commission a number of different artists for this fascinating project,” he added.

Pendle Council will be working with Mid Pennine Arts to find work which will be enjoyed by the many families and school groups and other visitors who explore the trail.

“The call out to artists will be available on the Arts Council network and we expect lots of great imaginative ideas to come forward!” said Mike.


The four artists whose work has been featured at the Pendle Sculpture Trail which opened in 2012 are:

  • Lead artist Philippe Handford originally from Higherford, Pendle (now living in the Ribble Valley.  Philippe used fallen trees and dry stone walls and created some spooky ‘Spirits of the Wood’.
  • Sarah McDade from Hebden Bridge whose sensitive ceramic plaques commemorate each of the Pendle Witches.  They include symbols representing their lives and confessions and leaf-prints from leaves gathered in the wood.
  • Martyn Bednarczuk from the Ribble Valley on the other side of Pendle Hill.  Martyn has carved a beautiful life-size figure of a witchfinder which has over-tones of the local magistrate, Roger Nowell, who first interrogated the Pendle villagers.
  • Steve Blaylock of Killinghall, near Harrogate has created metal bats, an owl and a giant spider’s web.