The Harley Foundation has been awarded a major grant from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) 2014 – 2020 Growth Programme for a new art trail.

The project, Cave Art to Contemporary Art Walking Trail – exploring the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Countryside, was developed to attract additional visitors by offering a high-quality outdoor art experience, and in particular for this to be accessible over the winter months.

The sculpture trail will tell the story of art – from cave paintings to contemporary visual art practice.

The funding will enable us to develop the free art trail which will lead from The Harley Gallery, Nottinghamshire, showing contemporary and historic art, to connect with nearby Creswell Crags, an SSSI in Derbyshire and home to Britain’s earliest cave art.

With this grant, we will commission a large scale sculpture for The Harley Courtyard, a series of smaller waymarker sculptures to lead the way along the trail, and artist-made interpretation telling our story of art, our landscape and the historic estate.

Two commissioned horse sculptures, made out of recycled materials collected from the Welbeck estate, will form the start of the trail. They will be crafted by artist Michelle Reader, who is based within the Harley Studios on the estate.

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.
Michelle Reader

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

The interpretation panels will be foundry cast, offering information on the story of art through this landscape and historic estate.

Cave Art to Contemporary Art Walking Trail – exploring the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Countryside is part-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

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The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development:
Europe investing in rural areas