Sculptures and geology trail create a fascinating route through South Pennines industrial heritage.

Posted: 18.12.12

The Penistone Hill Geology Trail, a short circular walk from Haworth Parish Church, tells the story of the heritage of the area through its rocks, from their formation millions of years ago to the men who quarried and mined the land to further man’s development.

Written by Alison Tymon, chairman of the West Yorkshire Geology Trust, and Steve Wood, a local historian, the 20-page booklet guides people around the two and a half mile trail taking in two quarries and various geological features as well as four sculptures by Stevan Tica. The booklet and trail have been funded through the Watershed Landscape Project, managed by Pennine Prospects, and in partnership with Bradford City Council.

“The sculptures have been carved from Yorkshire stone and are used as markers along the trail,” explained Stevan, a self taught sculptor of stone and wood.

“Two of the works illustrate the origins of the landscape; the first is of a fossilised tree stump, with a few leaves and a dragonfly to represent the material that decomposed to form coal over millions of years, and the second a river channel, which shows how water carved out the landscape.

“The more recent history can be seen in a relief carving of a horse gin, a mechanical device used by miners to bring buckets up the mine shaft to the surface. This is the biggest sculpture weighing about a ton. And also a depiction of two quarrymen splitting a rock using the plug and feather technique,” Stevan added.

Alison explained the importance of the quarries to the area. “There’s lots of evidence of mining and quarrying, which links us to our industrial heritage. But it’s more than that; these quarries provided all the stone for the mills and dwellings in the Upper Worth valleys; most of the buildings we see here today have been built of stone from these hills.

“People have always been interested in the heritage of the mills but not so much the mines and quarries that helped to build them. Now that is changing.”

And it’s not just the relatively recent past that can be revealed, Alison added: “Steve is the historian and I am the geologist. He has made the connections between quarrying for building stone and mills and I can see what life was like in this area 300 million years ago by studying the quarries; they’re very informative.”

The 20-page booklet, which brings all this knowledge together, is available from visitor centres in Haworth and Hebden Bridge and costs £2.

The Watershed Landscape project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the South Pennines LEADER programme, (the Rural Development Programme for England), which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union, and managed by Pennine Prospects.

Watershed Landscape website.

Photograph: Stevan Tica on Penistone Hill with his river delta sculpture

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