Spodden Valley Revealed
Our major project promises some transformational impacts for communities in the Whitworth area of Rossendale. Spodden Valley Revealed is exploring the long timeline of human settlement there, through an engagement programme involving local people of all ages, and a range of exciting artist commissions. The end result of a three year process will be an innovative, linear heritage destination for local people and visitors to explore, adding rich content to the off-road cycling and walking route which will become the Valley of Stone Greenway.
MPA secured Heritage Lottery Fund support for an initial development stage, which was also supported by Lancashire County Council and Arts Council England. Throughout 2016 and early 2017 a development programme of community activities, artist led explorations and archaeological study have fed into final detailed plans. We have returned to HLF with a second stage bid to support two years of implementation work.
The project itself is the culmination of five years work… Since 2010, MPA in partnership with Whitworth Town Council and other partners have been developing a long term vision for a project that tells the stories and celebrates the rich heritage of the Whitworth area. The Town Council first asked MPA to consider the untapped potential of the town’s cycleway, and our feasibility study was followed by further exploratory work and an inspirational artist residency. This took place in 2012 with the eminent international land artist Kate Whiteford (see Exploring Spodden Valley). Kate’s ideas have infused and enriched the resulting proposals.
Spodden Valley Revealed will be a unique kind of visitor destination – a ‘string of pearls’ of historic sites, all signposted from the central cycling and walking route. Both our engagement programme and the interpretation of these sites will involve a range of exciting opportunities for artists.
The project is timed to benefit from and add rich historic content to Lancashire County Council’s strategic programme of cycleways for East Lancashire. See also our complimentary project with the cycleways team, The Scenic Route.
SVR will be created through a programme of comprehensive community activities and learning, involving schools, volunteers and local community members of all ages.