If you’ve been in a secondary school in the last 20 years chances are you’ve studied West Yorkshire poet, Simon Armitage’s work at GCSE. Hailing from the town of Marsden, Armitage is one of the best & best-known poets of our generation. He is currently the Poet Laureate for the United Kingdom.
The Pennines hold some of the most remarkable scenery in Yorkshire, and even if you’re not a fan of poetry the Stanza Stones walk is a great experience that we highly recommend. The Stanza Stones are a set of poems that Armitage wrote for the Ilkley Literature Festival back in 2010, which are all themed around water. The poems are site-specific, so have a read and see what comes to mind as you take in the words (and none of this “I’m not readin’ no bloomin’ poetry” lark.
This isn’t the first time Armitage has been associated with the Pennines, back in 2010 he walked From South Scotland to Derbyshire along the Pennine Way, in which he would give poetry readings in exchange for lodgings.
The stones are a great way to get kids thinking and learning about the environment that surrounds them, as well as a trail that leads from the poet’s hometown of Marsden to Ilkley. The trail is 47 miles long created by the Long Distance Walkers Association, so you may want to do it in stages over a few weekends (lockdown being a perfect time), and is made up of six stanza stones. Each stone took weeks to engrave by artist Pip, Hall they were finished in 2012 and now make up the 47-mile trail.
In the six stanza stones, it reads “those looking hard enough might stumble across a seventh Stanza Stone, a secret stone left in an unnamed location within the Watershed area, waiting to be discovered and read. See if you can find the lost seventh stanza stone- if it even exists!
The Snow Stone
Pule Hill, Marsden
(53.594011°N 1.956117°W – SE031108)
The Rain Stone
Cow’s Mouth Quarry, off A58 road between Littleborough and Ripponden
(53.668598°N 2.057431°W – SD964191)
The Mist Stone
Nab Hill, near Oxenhope
(53.790822°N 1.952877°W – SE033327)
The Dew Stones
Rivock Edge, off the road from Silsden to East Morton
(53.900426°N 1.891894°W – SE073449)
The Puddle Stones
Whetstone Gate Wireless Station, Rombalds Moor
(53.902160°N 1.835578°W – SE110451)
The Beck Stone
Backstone Beck, Ilkley Moor
(53.917397°N 1.812680°W – SE125468)