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Harley Art Trail launched

Posted onPosted on 17th Mar

A new art trail has opened along the footpath between contemporary art space Harley Gallery and Creswell Crags, home to Britain’s earliest cave art.

From the contemporary art gallery at Harley, the free trail winds through woodlands and open countryside, before crossing the A60 and heading on towards Creswell Crags.

The verges have been planted with wildflowers, and a bee corridor has been developed.

Along the way, walkers will find new sculptures by two local artists, Michelle Reader (above) and Martin Smith.

Two commissioned horse sculptures, made out of recycled materials collected from the Welbeck estate, mark the start of the trail. They have been crafted by Michelle, who is based within the Harley Studios on the estate.

Visitors can find the horses outside The Harley Gallery.

Michelle Reader explained: “The sculptures represent an encounter between a prehistoric species and a present-day species making the link across time between Welbeck and Creswell Crags.

“The contemporary animal, a racehorse inspired by the lineage of the ‘bloody-shouldered Arabian’ brought to Welbeck by Edward Harley, comes face to face with its ancestor, a wild horse found locally 40,000 years ago.”

From here, visitors can then walk the route dotted with interpretation panels and kinetic tree sculptures created by Martin. The eye-catching trees reference agricultural machinery, and their reflective, brightly coloured leaves will complement their woodland walk setting.

He has also made interpretation panels, which offer information on the story of art, landscape, and the historic estate.

The project has been made possible by a grant from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Lisa Gee, director of The Harley Gallery and Foundation, said “We work to create spaces where the imagination can flourish, and it’s wonderful to be able to take this vision out of the gallery and into the local countryside.

“Bring the kids to run off some energy, or take a contemplative stroll while you view the sculptures.”