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Coldstones Cut leaves an impression for the ages

In September, a hilltop overlooking Coldstones Quarry, near Pateley Bridge, in Nidderdale, Yorkshire, was transformed into an impressive piece of public art ? the Coldstones Cut.

Created by English sculptor and visual artist Andrew Sabin, the dramatic sculpture is a spectacular cut streetscape between the rural uplands and the quarry and the height of its spiral tops are nearly 427 metres (1400 feet) above sea level. The cut is so large it is easily visible on Google Earth.

The project was first conceived in 2005 as part of an innovative partnership between Hanson Aggregates, the quarry?s owner and operator, and local arts charity nidderdale visual arts and was five years in the making. The cost of the sculpture was ?500,000, which was raised through contributions from a variety of bodies, with the main funding coming from a government levy on aggregate extracted from quarries. Hanson was also a major contributor in terms of materials and time.

Visitors can walk through the Coldstones Cut and explore the different vistas, from the local scenery of Nidderdale to the major landmarks of North Yorkshire. A network of footpaths merge at the Cut, while the Way of the Roses cycleway passes the entrance. Cars can be left at a nearby car park where a short walk up the slope of the land leads the visitor to the Cut.

Information about the quarry, the topology, geology and ecology of the area is supplied not only for casual visitors but also as part of an educational programme for schools locally and beyond. A viewing platform also allows visitors to see the daily workings of the Coldstones limestone quarry and experience a sense of ?living history? of man?s past and present impact on the landscape.

Quarrying was once one of the major local industries in Nidderdale and created the wealth and jobs that built the town of Pateley Bridge but Coldstones Quarry is now the last operational site. Many of the old quarries in Nidderdale are now protected areas providing habitats for a variety of flora and birds. The Coldstones Cut has been built to endure after the closure of the quarry and will provide a permanent reminder of the significance of the quarrying industry in the history of Nidderdale.

Dr Penelope Tate, the director of Tate Britain who officially opened the sculpture, remarked that the Coldstones Cut was a model for enhancing and developing ?our viewing of what otherwise might be seen as industrial damage. It has always seemed to me to be a very honest project, not disguising anything but rather making us see with new eyes what is around it and appreciating its extraordinary scale and interest?.

Patrick O?Shea, the chief executive of Hanson UK, said the company was pleased to work on the project ?which will enable visitors to enjoy the wonderful Nidderdale scenery and to look down on Coldstones quarry, which plays an important part in the economic and social fabric of the region. Our products are basic but essential. The stone we produce is used to build homes, offices, shops, schools and hospitals and to create a modern and sustainable built environment. Creation of this major piece of public art is a credit to the project partnership of nidderdale visual arts and Hanson Pateley Bridge and everyone involved in supporting the project?.

Coldstones Quarry will return to nature at the end of its working life in 20 years.

Source: Quarry Management (

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