Leeds & West Yorkshire

Poems carved into the Yorkshire moors

A series of seven poems are being carved into stones on the moors along the Pennine Watershed in Yorkshire.

The verses have been written by Marsden poet Simon Armitage, and each looks at a different type of water - from snow to streams.

The first of the Stanza Stones has been completed on Pule Hill near Marsden.

When the trail is complete, the stones will stretch from Marsden to Ilkley Moor. The last one will be in place by May 2012.

The exact location of the sites and the poems themselves are being kept secret - to give walkers more of an incentive to seek them out.

'Literary history'

The Stanza Stones project is a collaboration between Mr Armitage, the Ilkley Literary Festival and imove, Yorkshire's cultural project for the London 2012 Olympics.

Mr Armitage said he takes of inspiration from the landscape.

"For me, it's about giving poetry back to the landscape - this is a county which is steeped in literary history and a lot of that is to do with the land, the geology and the environment.

"I'm writing about water, in a landscape defined by water, it's like our local gold.

"The poems are going to be as permanent as the landscape will let them be.

"Eventually time will take them back into the soil, eventually 100 years, 1,000 years they will disappear.

"I quite like that idea, you know even though it seems like forever, in the history of this kind of landscape it's just the blink of an eye really."

The poems will be carved by stonemason Pip Hall and her apprentice, Wayne Hart, with some of the work taking place on location.

The verses on Pule Hill were done on location and took a month to complete, with each of the 360 characters taking between seven and 10 minutes to carve.

Ms Hall said: "It feels quite a responsibility to try and make something which I feel very happy with and something which is hopefully going to enhance the landscape and people's enjoyment of those areas."

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