It uses a disused railway line running near the River Spen between the towns of Cleckheaton, Dewsbury and Heckmondwike, eventually linking to Bradford. The route runs through densely populated urban areas with long distance moor-land views, it passes a wild life reserve and a rolling golf course.
The artist Jason Lane was resident artist on the path during the first construction phase. He worked in scrap metal sourced from a local scrap yard and made 5 bulky seats, tall entrance columns from wheel hubs and a series of access markers and mile posts. "I mostly work in scrap metal looking for discarded pieces and fittings with evocative shapes, which I use to make figures, faces, animals or whatever they suggest."
The second phase of artworks began with a series of workshops run by Open Arts, a community arts group from Dewsbury. The poet John Duffy and photographer Sarah Daniels ran workshops in Cleckheaton Library and St Mathews project, Dewsbury, a local charity for disaffected people. They produced a booklet of text and images, which reflects the travelling landscape with comments from people on the path at different times of the day.
Artists were selected to respond to this text at different sites along the route and develop preliminary proposals from which five were commissioned to realise their ideas. This second phase of artworks was officially opened on 6th June 2003.
Rotate by Trudi Enwistle is forty giant steel hoops set in a circle, inviting you the traveller or casual passer by to enter and make the rotation, round and round. amongst the trees in old Liversedge railway yard.
Sally Matthews has created the "Swaledale Flock" of eleven steel Swaledale sheep made from scrap metal with forged horns. The small flock would follow the edges of the path, travelling with you of towards you - animating the open farmland.
Giant Pedal & Cycle Seats by Alan Evans are derived from the wheels and pedals of bicycles of its current use as a cycle path and the locomotive from its former use as a railway line. The cycle seats are forged from extremely heavy and strong materials which enables the simple elegance of the cantilevered structure. The pedal signs developed from the relationship between the articulation of the bicycle pedals and crank and the swinging railway signals.
"Lines of desire", by Richard Harris is formed of curved and gently tilted paths that rise up above, or cut through the ground to take people either by a shorter route - "taking the 'desire line', or lengthening it - taking a 'line of desire'. Harris' sculpture is concerned with the way people move through a space.
Pauline Monkcom was interested in the way the written word impacts on the landscape, acting to inform, to interpret, to warn and sometimes to create ambiguity. 'Spring Along The Greenway' is a collaboration between the artist and poet Judith Stone. The poem was written as part of the Spen Valley Community Programme. Travelling up and down the Greenway, observing small changes of season and landscape, Judith has mapped a journey through time, through landmarks and through people.
It is a stream of consciousness, observing, naming and moving on. Their intention was to contribute to this sense of movement and urgency, presenting the poem as a series of captions on signs, which become titles for the changing landscape. At certain points along the way hazard warning signs draw attention to specific events or features. These may be permanent structures such as bridges or chance happenings dependant on weather and seasons - the song of a bird or the first blossom of spring.
The Spen Valley Greenway Artworks were funded by The Arts Council of England, Kirklees Metropolitan Council, Sustrans & The Henry Moore Foundation. The Project was co-ordinated by Public Arts Wakefield & Sustrans
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