Scammonden's own Stanza Stone

Posted: 24.09.13

This year’s Walk and Ride Festival event at Scammonden Water got off to an extra special start on Saturday as the Mayor of Kirklees, Councillor Martyn Bolt, unveiled a unique Stanza Stone: a special collaboration between sculptor Peter Maris, poet Simon Armitage and local young people.

Yorkshire Water, Kirklees Council, White Rose Forest and Pennine Prospects have worked together on a variety of projects to improve access, habitat and enjoyment around Scammonden Water. In particular, Yorkshire Water has invested significantly in access trails and improving the car park close to where the Stanza Stone is sited.

The project has been a challenge which sculptor Peter Maris has relished. He has had to incorporate 26 unconnected phrases, describing the South Pennine landscape, into a visual format to give a relevant sense of meaning and celebration of the environment which the sculpture overlooks.

The words were selected by Simon Armitage from recent work that he initiated with local writers as a community based part of the Stanza Stones project, which incorporates a 47-mile trail across the landscape with six carved stones en-route, commissioned by Ilkley Literature Festival.

Peter has chosen a variety of ways to letter the Scammonden Water Stanza Stone as an attempt to depict the written sentiments with different voices and volumes. He has also designed an accompanying bench which has been cut by water-jet technology to mimic the shape of the reservoir. In both projects he has used a mixture of local stones supplied by Marshalls plc and also called upon Hipperholme based Scribble Stone for their technological services.

The piece celebrates both the three year Watershed Landscape project in the South Pennines, which is managed by Pennine Prospects, and the significant investment in access and paths around Scammonden Water by Yorkshire Water.

Pam Warhurst CBE, Chair of Pennine Prospects, said: “The Heritage Lottery funded project has received recognition both in the UK and internationally. Peter’s work quite literally puts Scammonden Water on the map.”

The investment in the footpath infrastructure around Scammonden Water is part of Yorkshire Water’s ongoing commitment to open up as much of its land to as many of its customer’s as is feasible. The paths around the site cater for a variety of abilities with the path leading to the Stanza Stone suitable for those in wheelchairs or people with pushchairs.

Kirklees Council countryside officer, Simon Pedley, commented: “Scammonden Water is a fantastic site to explore and the days’ activities will be a great way to celebrate all the work that’s been done over the last couple of years.

“We are grateful to the Pennine Prospects Walk and Ride Festival for the opportunity to showcase the site as part of this festival.”

At the same time as working with the young writers Simon Armitage has also written his own set of poems for carving into stone in remote situations high on the South Pennine moors. His six Stanza Stones, each bearing one poem of the set titled In Memory of Water, are spaced out along a 47 mile trail stretching from Marsden, Simon’s birthplace, to Ilkley.

Letter-cutting artist Pip Hall carved all six poems individually inspired by and titled in the name of the various forms in which water manifests and has shaped the Pennine landscape: snow, rain, mist, dew, puddle and beck.

There is a Stanza Stones Trail Guide, authored by Landscape Architect Tom Lonsdale, available to download free of charge from the Ilkley Literature Festival website.

Yorkshire Water United Utilities Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council National Farmers Union
South Pennines Association Lancashire County Council Pennine Heritage Kirklees Council Calderdale Council
Bradford District Council Northern Rail Natural England Environment Agency The National Trust