If you’re walking through Teesdale on the Teesdale Way you’re bound to encounter pairs of what look like milk churns or chimney pots, split down the middle and usually rust-red in colour. Inscribed vertically on each are the names of the Teesdale parishes they mark: Middleton-in-Teesdale, Eggleston, Romaldkirk, Hunderthwaite, Cotherstone, Lartingon, Barnard Castle, Startforth, Marwood, Egglestone Abbey, Rokeby, Wycliffe, Westwick, Whorlton, Winston and Gainford as you meet them west to east.
All are part of a publicly-funded arts project commissioned by Teesdale District Council in 1996 at a cost of £70,000. Its creator is sculptor Richard Wentworth and the project is titled Marking the Parish Boundaries. Of particular note is that it was the first public art project to be funded by the UK’s National Lottery.
As far as I’m concerned it’s a sympathetic and well-integrated project that doesn’t demand attention but allows you to notice and appreciate it on your own terms. Often hiding in plain sight, they’re easy to miss and fun to find. No matter how many times I venture along the trail I always take pleasure in renewing my acquaintance with them though the Barnard Castle/Westwick and Whorlton/Winston pairs continue to elude me. If they’re still (or were ever) in place and you happen to know where they are, please leave a comment.
The 35 mm Slide. “Teesdale Way.” The 35mm Slide, 15 January 2013, https://the35mmslide.wordpress.com/2013/01/15/teesdale-way/. Accessed 29 October 2020.
Durham County Council. “Parish Markers.” I-See Public Art County Durham, no. 1973-2009, 2009. Durham County Council, http://www.durham.gov.uk/media/3804/i-see-public-artwork-County-Durham/pdf/ISeePublicArtworkCountyDurham.pdf. Accessed 29 October 2020.
Wikipedia contributors. “Richard Wentworth (artist).” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 09 August 2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Richard_Wentworth_(artist)&oldid=972014428. Accessed 29 October 2020.