Sculptures plan for Bolton country park with stunning views of Manchester and Salford

The Woodland Trust, who own and operate the vast Smithills Estate, have submitted a planning application
One of the sculptures planned for the vast Smithills Estate One of the sculptures planned for the vast Smithills Estate
One of the sculptures planned for the vast Smithills Estate

Three sculptures are set to be installed in a country park as a five-year project to complete a waterside trail nears completion.

The Woodland Trust, who own and operate the vast Smithills Estate, north of Bolton, have submitted a planning application for features along a historic tramway at the site.

The estate boasts ancient woodland and moorland and from higher areas spectacular views of the Bolton, Manchester and Salford skylines can be enjoyed. The three installations will be along the new Waterfold Trail.

One of the sculptures planned for the vast Smithills Estate One of the sculptures planned for the vast Smithills Estate
One of the sculptures planned for the vast Smithills Estate

Large steel silhouettes of a horse and trailer echoing the remote coal mining history of the site will be placed at the at the side of the trail which the trust hope will draw people to walk along the tramway.

Habitat benches will be installed on the side of the footpath in a clearing between the path and river. The third feature in the plans is a community bird hide on the side of the path near the car park at the start of the Waterfold trail.

In a heritage statement in support of the application, The Woodland Trust, said: “The subjects of this planning application are the Waterfold Trail features that form part of a cohesive network of interpretation across the Smithills Estate. The designs provides a high degree of robustness, longevity and ease of maintenance.

Another of the sculptures planned for the Smithills Estate Another of the sculptures planned for the Smithills Estate
Another of the sculptures planned for the Smithills Estate

“The interpretation is designed to improve aesthetically as it weathers, reflecting the aged nature of the landscape it relates to. The individual locations of each feature have been chosen to create negligible visual impact on the landscape.”

Also included in the plans are printed information panels to inform visitors of the area’s history. The tramway itself is an old pony track leading to the site of Burnt Edge Colliery, which closed in the 1890s. Burnt Edge is now a peaceful heathland, but walls from the old colliery remain, giving a reminder that the area was once busy, noisy, and full of workers.

Work is being carried out to conserve the heathland, which is home to lizards, invertebrates and ground nesting birds. Bolton Council will now consider the plans.