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Irwell Sculpture Trail Re-launched

Paul Berentzen describes how the largest public art scheme is to go digital

Published on September 12th 2011.

Irwell Sculpture Trail Re-launched

MODERNISATION is the focus as the UK’s largest public art scheme, the Irwell Sculpture Trail prepares for a re-launch at the end of the month.

The next goal for the councils that jointly manage the trail is to turn it into an international attraction.  

Visitors will soon have access to interactive maps and podcasts to enrich the experience as they explore the culture and history of the area.          

The trail, which stretches from Salford Quays to Bacup, covers over 33 miles and includes around 70 pieces of art from a variety of artists. 

Featured artists include Lawrence Weiner, a New Yorker credited as one of the founders of conceptual art, and British sculptor Edward Allington.

The redevelopment effort has focused on greater ease of access for visitors as well as general maintenance of the sculptures. 

Joanna Rowlands, Branding Consultant for the Irwell Sculpture Trail, feels the changes mean there is now something for everyone on the trail whether they want to “access it for a few minutes or a few hours”. 

She adds that the purpose of the trail is to build connections between places and provide visitors with cultural attractions focusing on the “industrial heritage of the area”. 

The trail is also intended to serve environmental and educational purposes as well as bringing economic benefit to the region by serving as a major tourist attraction. 

Tony Trehy, Arts and Museums Manager for Bury Council, feels that the latest phase in the trail’s development have left it “at a stage where it has now stepped up to the plate” and can start to fulfill these roles properly. 

Despite the recent work costing around £400,000 over several years, Mr. Trehy insists that  it was just “another step on the journey”. 

The next goal for the councils that jointly manage the trail is to turn it into an international attraction. 

Walkers will be able to find information on the artwork and the surrounding area all along the trail with additional material made available on the new website, due for launch shortly.

The website will provide visitors with a greater wealth of information in a variety of formats as well as suggesting routes for those looking for a shorter stroll while still taking advantage of the attractions on offer. 

The official relaunch of the trail will take place on September 29th. 

The trail first opened in 1993 after receiving Lottery funding and a grant from Arts Council England. 

The Irwell Sculpture Trail is jointly managed by Bury, Lancashire, Rossendale and Salford Councils.


Irwell And Car Parks 338Tilted Vase - Edward Allington

Remnant KingsRemnant Kings - Ian Randall

IrwellIn the Picture - Richard Caink

In The Picture


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GadgeSeptember 15th 2011.

If only 'In The Picture' looked as good as that - instead it is swamped by Himilayan Balsam. A number of the artworks have been damaged by local scrotes too, such as the glass block in a cage one at Outwood Country Park west of Radcliffe, the Ramson wood sculpture in Ramsbottom's Nuttall Park, and the heads sculptures just south of Rawtenstall. I don't suppose that they'll be replaced.

AnonymousSeptember 26th 2011.

As one of the artists with a sculpture on the trail, I'm disappointed that no officials have contacted me to check the information to be displayed with or diseminated about the artworks, nor to update CV, website, contact info, etc.

There is much room for error and misrepresentation. The organisers would have been wise to ask artists for their contribution, not least in proof reading or updating statements about each sculpture.

In the report above, for example, 'Remnant Kings' is by Ian Randall and 'In the Picture' is by Richard Caink (not Crank). Obviously this may not be the fault of the trail organisers, but it doesn't give one much confidence seeing as they haven't noticed or corrected the error before or after the article was published.

EditorialSeptember 26th 2011.

We've corrected the names now. Thanks for telling us.

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