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Enclosure Rights – an artwork inspired by the cultural landscape of the Yorkshire Wolds

On a recent walk along the Yorkshire Wolds Way from Wintringham, I stumbled upon a wonderful public artwork.

The walk started in Wintringham and after a very steep climb through a wood known as Deepdale Plantation, I reached a beautiful hand carved wooden gate. After passing through the gate, I was met with a stunning vista as I found myself on a ridge called Knapton Brow overlooking the Vale of Pickering.

But that was not all – a strange artwork also adorned the hilltop and a small sign explained that the sculpture was called “Enclosure Rights” and was part of a series of artwork installations along the Yorkshire Wolds Way under the theme of WANDER. In fact it was the first sculpture to be commissioned as part of this project.

“Enclosure Rights” was produced by an artist called Jony Easterby, who is famous for his works empathy for the natural world and a sense of place within culture and social context.

Drawing on the archaeological importance of the area, the sculpture consists of a new chalk path, edged with split oak posts leading up to a raised platform over-looking a dew pond.

Jony Easterby worked with archaeologists to research the cultural landscape of the area and develop an artwork inspired by the ancient history. The sculpture actually sits next to an ancient ditch and dyke earthwork, so Jony drew upon bronze age barrow forms to create the shape.

The creation of a dew pond and wildlife meadows as part of the artwork celebrates the rich and abundant wildlife of the Yorkshire Wolds. The dew pond forms a “sky mirror” and was a way of re-instating an old Yorkshire Wolds farming practice of collecting water using clay lined ponds as the local chalk in the area is pervious and water flows away through it in much of the Wolds.

There are also a number of wooden carved oak figures known as “The Guardian Warriors”, based on a number of tiny carved chalk warriors found in the nearby Derwent Valley. It was believed the figures were based on members of the local iron age tribe who habited the area at the time of the Roman invasion known as the Paresi.

During late June and July – the sculpture is surrounded by poppies making the installation blend further into the natural habitat. After the steep climb to Knapton Brow, I would highly recommend catching your breathe at this wonderful site, immersing yourself in the culture and landscape whilst sitting and take in the views.


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