One of our objectives during our walk around Wetherlam and Tilberthwaite was to see the sheepfold in the bottom of the valley, near the old quarry. It’s not an ordinary sheepfold but was built by Andy Goldsworthy as part of his Sheepfolds Project
SHEEPFOLDS is Cumbria County Council’s major county-wide sculpture, landscape and environment project by the internationally renowned artist ANDY GOLDSWORTHY. The project started in January 1996 for the ‘U.K. Year of Visual Arts’ in what was then the Northern Arts Board region. Beginning as part of this programme Andy Goldsworthy has created a body of environmentally responsive sculptural works across Cumbria using existing sheepfolds, washfolds and pinfolds.
Although each fold is an individual piece, the project should be seen as a single work of art .
It’s possible to access the structure and get inside for a closer look. (This Herdwick sheep was wondering what we were up to!)
Goldsworthy creates six different types of sheepfold. The one at Tilberthwaite is A Touchstone Fold
A series of folds with artworks built into the fold’s wall, rich in texture and using slate and pebbles as in earlier stone works
He uses traditional drystone walling techniques, the same as used by the farmers who built, and continue to build and repair, the drystone walls that are found all over the Lake District, and other parts of Britain for that matter (we’d seen an example of drystone walling techniques used to build a bench on the Chatsworth Estate the previous weekend). But he incorporates “artistic elements” into the structures. So, at Tilberthwaite, in the centre of each of the walls there’s a rectangular section of dark slate which incorporates a circle. For each of these circles the slate is laid in a different direction, catching and reflecting the light in different ways
The effect will vary depending on the time of day and the weather.
There are directions to the accessible sheepfolds on the web. The directions to the Tilberthwaite fold is here. It’s also large enough to be seen on the 1:25,000 OS Map