Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Rossendale Shoe Trail at Top O' th Slate.....

Rossendale Shoe Trail – Coming Spring 2009! Published by Rossendale Borough Council on Tuesday 24th March 09 This is an exciting project that takes inspiration from Rossendale’s historical links with the shoe and brick industry. The Shoe Trail will direct people from Rawtenstall town centre, through the Rossendale Valley and up to the Halo Panopticon at Top o’ Slate using giant footwear designs as way markers. (See artist immpression above right hand side - courtesy of Mid Pennine Arts...)

The giant, ceramic shoes have been designed by school groups from All Saints High School and Haslingden High School in Rossendale. The students worked with artist Julie Miles to produce designs that could be recreated using clay. Each of the way markers is hand carved to provide a truly unique way of guiding people into the beautiful Rossendale countryside.

The giant shoes will be positioned on the top of dry-stone walling and other key sites at regular intervals along the Trail. They will be placed at sites where trail users can admire the view or examine points of specific interest.

Rossendale Valley is famous for its shoe industry, but in the early part of the 20th century the area was also a major contributor to brick making and manufacture. The Shoe Trail aims to recognise this 'forgotten' industry by using clay to produce the way markers. Top o' Slate was once a clay pit for the brick factories of Heys and Duckworth, Haslingden Brick and Tile Co. and R. Holding Pike Law Patent Brick works making the ceramic way markers even more important in celebrating the area's heritage.

The Shoe Trail will start and end with carved relief brick plaques produced by artist Julie Miles. At Top o' Slate the plaque will depict the historical industry of the area from felt making, block printing, carpet printing through to the production of slippers, brick making and the railway. A similar plaque will be worked into the ground outside Rawtenstall station. This piece will be carved with images that celebrate the town's heritage as well as pictures that represent the Rossendale landscape.

A carved image of the Halo Panopticon will be included to encourage walkers to visit Top o' Slate. These plaques have also been designed with the help of school groups.