If you’re visiting the Rossendale valley in Lancashire, or somewhere nearby, stop off in Haslingden and check out its weird and wonderful flying saucer called The Halo. It won’t take up much of your day and it’s worth the visit to experience something that little bit different!
The Halo is one of 4 weird and wonderful Panopticon sculptures, placed on various East Lancashire Pennine hills: a unique series of 21st Century landmarks and visited by thousands!
If you’re not familiar with the phrase “Panopticon”, it means ‘a structure, space or device providing a comprehensive or panoramic view.’ They were designed to attract people into the landscape, to engage with the place and enjoy the stunning landscapes in which they’re situated.
And this one certainly does just that! Built on what was once a landfill site, the area has been transformed with vegetation and the Halo stands guard over its town, inviting residents and visitors to a place that was once a no go area. It’s been positioned so it is clearly visible from the M66 and A56 approach roads.
There is not much parking at the access point to The Halo, and requires a drive up a narrow steep lane, so I recommend parking up in Haslingden and walking up! It’s a steep but short climb, ¾ mile out the centre of Haslingden, so it gets the heart racing, but on reaching the top you’re rewarded by a fabulous view of the Rossendale valley and Greater Manchester.
On the horizon you can see the Darwen and Peel Towers and the wind farm on Scout Moor, other walks that are well worth doing in the locality.
The imposing Halo sculpture is far more impressive than any photograph you’ll see of it – its 18 metre wide steel lattice dish raised 5 metres high by a tripod of metal legs.
Although I’ve only visited this place during daylight hours, I believe it’s fabulous being up there as the sun sets and the Halo revs into action with blue LED lights making it glow in the night sky: atmospheric, evocative and haunting – a UFO frozen on the verge of take off, hovering above the town of Haslingden.
The other Panopticon Sculptures in the project are:
Further information can be found here at Visit Lancashire and you can download trail maps of all the Panopticons there also.
If you’re preparing for a visit to these sites, it’s worth visiting the Mid Pennine Arts Organisation too!
Have you visited any of these structures?
Which makes for the best walk?
Have you got a favourite, or more to the point – which should I do next?
I’d like to hear from you…
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