The Singing Ringing Tree

UPDATE: for those arriving from a search engine looking for Andy Goldsworthy sculptures – this sculpture is not by Andy Goldsworthy, but was designed by award-winning architects Tonkin-Liu.

Last week we happened to be passing by Burnley and I bullied the rest of the family into making a diversion to Crown Point above the town to see (and hear) the Singing Ringing Tree.

I don’t think that they minded in the end. Despite protesting at the cold and the wind when we stepped out of the car.

We didn’t add to the graffiti, but we did have a bit of a clamber.

Does that make us philistines? Later in the week B would hurt himself falling off an Andy Goldsworthy sculpture at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park – but that’s another story.

The Singing Ringing Tree is one of several panopticons sited in the Pennines intended to entice people into the outdoors. Crown Point is a bleak spot on the edge of the Moors, although there is a panoramic view of Burnley and its environs.

I imagine that it is nearly always very windy there which gives the Singing Ringing Tree its special quality. The sounds it makes are eery and rather plaintive. Like a choir of lost souls stuck up on the moors wailing.

This is not my film. You can find the original here. I’m never sure about the netiquette of posting other peoples stuff.

Although the Singing Ringing Tree is about an hours drive from our home, I might never have known about it if I hadn’t read about it in Words From The Northwest Woods which, ironically, was written by Cynthia who lives in the Pacific Northwest – a long way from Burnley and the West Pennine Moors. Strange how these things work.

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The Singing Ringing Tree

5 thoughts on “The Singing Ringing Tree

  1. Mark, how nice to hear from you and to see those pictures! Your analogy of “a choir of lost souls stuck up on the moors wailing” sounds very apt. It appears to be a smaller structure than I thought, but I still want to visit it one of these days.

    And thank you for asking about us – I have been mostly well, returning from an extended stay in Arizona (where my son lives) which I will write about at some point, I think (if I ever figure out how to blog and have a real life at the same time)…

    Your photos of flora, fauna and family continue to delight me. We’ll stay in touch, I hope!

  2. So I’m not too old to learn a new word!!!! I’d never read the word ‘panopticon’ before so, of course, I looked it up on the net. I was told a panopticon is a prison designed so that everyone in it can be supervised easily!!! I presume the word has been co-opted. It’s a lovely one. I shall bring it into every conversation now.

    I have written a poem about a local ‘wailing thingie’ that we have near here, but it’s a Singing Bridge and I think it does its thing accidentally.

    Isn’t graffiti a scourge!!!

  3. beatingthebounds says:

    Cynthia,
    The tension between virtual and material existence and finding a healthy balance is still something I’m struggling with. I’ll let you know if i ever discover the secret!

    Brenda,
    Now that you mention it I think that I’ve come across that sense of Panopticon before. The Singing Ringing Tree is one of four sculptures in Pennine Lancashire. On the related website the definition of Panopticon given is:
    Panopticon n. Structure, space or device providing a comprehensive or panoramic view.
    Graffiti can be a scourge. My daughter added a wish to a wish tree at Yorkshire Sculpture Park: ‘I wish that there were more flowers and less litter on the ground.’

  4. Thank you for drawing my attention to this! I can’t wait to pay it a visit. I live on the edge of the Dales and have often walked there and in the South Pennines. I’m a sucker for the Sculpture Park near Wakefield, not to mention anything interesting on the top of a hill.

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