Sculpture trail is planned for Barley woods

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Pendle Council is bidding for funding to create a unique sculpture trail - and the council’s Executive gave its support to the idea at its meeting on Thursday.

The council aims to make a bid for £26,450 to the Government’s Rural Development Programme for England for the project.

Aitken Wood near Barley was selected for the potential trail.

Barley has good facilities for visitors who come to climb Pendle Hill or cycle or stroll through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The wood is owned by United Utilities, who have agreed to the idea and will provide visitor signs if the bid is successful.

The council’s Tourism Officer, Mike Williams, said: “A survey of 175 visitors showed that 94% would visit the trail and 80% would take their children or grandchildren to see the new attraction. This demonstrates a very strong demand for the trail.

“Nearly 70% of those surveyed were from outside Pendle, which strengthens the claim that the trail would boost the area’s tourism economy.

“One aspect of the trail would include a dedication on trees to the Pendle Witches in time for the 400-year anniversary of the world famous trial in 2012,” Mike explained.

Barley Parish Council and local businesses in the area have also been consulted and approve of the idea.

“The trail is designed to boost tourism in our rural areas, provide an exciting attraction for visitors and improve the quality of life for local people,” added Executive Councillor for tourism, Jonathan Eyre.

“We’ve worked with Mid Pennine Arts, Pendle Leisure Trust and local artists on the trail. Our idea is also supported by Lancashire County Council and Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board.

“It’s an exciting idea which I’m happy to back. We have some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK and this will give more people a reason to visit Pendle.

“The sculpture trail would link with Lancashire’s schools outdoor centre at Whitehough and could be used by local schools.

“The trail would also encourage people to be more active in the great outdoors, which is good for all round health.”