The Art Trail is coming!

The weekend of the 26th and 27th November will see the return of Rossendale Art Trail.
Venues will be open from 10am until 4pm.

There’s some new features this year including Stubbylee Greenhouses in Bacup hosting the Rossendale Collective Group. There will be 12 different venues in all, and 30 artists are showing their work. Hot food and drinks will be available at The Whitaker, Horse & Bamboo and Stubbylee.

Ella Cole has compiled a smart brochure with support of all the participating artists – you can pick up a copy from the RAT venues. There’s information in the brochure about a host of events and workshops associated with the Art Trail. These include Wagon Tales at Irwell terrace, Bacup; The Whitaker’s contemporary art exhibitions; Screen Printing with Matt Davies; Mandala Drawing at Valley Artists – and more!

RAT 2022?

I’ve been asked by a couple of local studio venues about our plans for an Art Trail in 2022.

I’m not able to take a lead on it this year, largely because we’re moving from our farm to Haslingden to Dave Pearson’s old studio. So far as I can tell the final stages of the move will be in October, which appears to remain the preferred time for RAT. I’m also keen on others taking the lead on the organisation of the Art Trail, so this is likely to be the perfect opportunity!

After last year’s November dates, opinion gathered from the feedback was that October was definitely the preferred date. It would be particularly useful to hear from the main venues, including the Whitaker and the Boo, to find out what they’re planning this year. Remembering that on the whole participating artists liked the idea of a longer Art Trail, perhaps a couple of weeks and 3 weekends long, and individual artists and studios opening whenever suited them within that period.

I’m happy to act as a go-between for this and pass on any group messages. Of course this website is now well established and artist’s addresses can be found on it, so it’s easy to communicate with one another.

Artist Residency Opportunity

Mary from Analogue Farm in Whitworth has written to tell us that they are now open for a funded Artists Residency this summer at their farm.

Go to their website for full details and the info pack, at

The Boo: Artists Networking Event

Here’s a tempting invite from Jenn Trethewey at The Boo to join her for an Artists Networking Event on Friday 6th August.

It doubles as a relaunch of the Boo’s Gin Bar, and an unveiling of Caroline Johnson’s mural at the Bar. I’ve seen photographs of this and it looks stunning.

Please note that Jenn is asking for RSVPs as space will be limited.


It can’t have escaped your attention that Rossendale Art Trail is encouraging everyone involved to join the group’s Instagram feed. Thanks to Scott Sadler, Ella Cole and Anthony Black this has now been set up.

I’ve had an Instagram account for a while, but haven’t used it much until now. This past week I’ve tried to make it better suited to the RAT group – mainly by deleting images that weren’t of my work. I was a bit confused as to how best to make it work, and wrote to Scott. He got back to say:

“We just need people to email pictures to me, Ella and Anthony, and we can then add them to Our account. Using hashtags (#) is the best way to get people who don’t already follow you to see the images. If you click on #rossendalearttrail it will take you to all images with that tag, regardless of whether it is from our account or not. So others will use this hashtag when they are visiting RAT and/or sharing their own images. This will then direct others to our page. We will eventually build momentum so others will be promoting the RAT for us. 

“At the moment we are mainly sharing with our own followers, but we have built a small audience pretty quick already. I’ve held off sharing too much initially to avoid sharing with nobody!”

I though I would pass this on as I found it helped me understand the process.

Grayson’s Art Club

RAT contributor David Tomlinson has had one of his paintings selected for Grayson’s Art Club on Channel 4. The painting was ‘Out of My Window’, one of the pieces David created during lockdown. The guest on the show, comedian and actor Jim Moir, said “I love it….it looks like a theme park has just been dropped onto the middle of the lawn”.

Bob Nancollis 1947-2021

It is extremely sad to report the death of Bob Nancollis. Bob lived in Chorlton, Manchester, but he had a studio at Globe Arts at Tollbooth, Stacksteads. Bob was a highly active supporter of all art events in the Valley, and was a familiar face at the Art Trail since its inception. In fact Bob was one of the founders of the Globe Studio Open Days during the 1990s that created the template for the Art Trail.

Bob’s work is unforgettable, and his highly distinctive style was formed early on in his career, during his student years in the Fine Art Department at Manchester School of Art during the late 1960s.

Bob’s powerful sense of fun, and his quirky good humour and positivity will be much missed by everyone who knew him. Rossendale’s art scene will find him impossible to replace.

MMU study

Angela Towers, a Senior Lecturer at in Business, Retail and Tourism at MMU Business School visited the Art Trail in 2019 and was blown away by the number of artists and the quality of the work. She bought a few paintings, and wondered if her Post-Grad students could look at the event and perhaps suggest ways of marketing the event more widely.

The brief for the students would be “You should focus on presenting creative ideas for how to increase awareness of this annual event, consider the target audience, and low cost/no cost ways to reach them.  You should also explore opportunities for involvement of Rossendale Borough Council and any other potential partners.”

I can’t see any harm in this, and it could well produce some useful results – especially as I don’t feel I have the time to dedicate as much effort to promoting the Art Trail as it deserves. Megan Eastwood at Rossendale Council has already said that she is willing to participate in helping the students, and also that she would try and find some funding for the Art Trail to help in this process.

If Art Trail participants are keen on helping with this then please let me know, and I’ll pass on details. Otherwise I’ll report back to the group as things develop.

Paddy at the Carpark!

Paddy Campbell is creating a sculpture as part of a forthcoming series of new works of art to be placed at The Whitaker Museum in Rossendale. The sculptures will utilise several felled beech trees, reflecting their placement and the environment in which they have grown.

While the sculpture is still young and in a state of development there is a definite direction to the works progress. The sculpture is robust and tactile – retaining vigour, catching sunlight and the sounds of wood. There are more on the way over the winter.

“As part of the RAT this year I feel it would be nice to view this work as it develops. The sculpture is outside and you are welcome to stump up and have a look. The sculpture can be viewed at my outdoors studio – the top car park at The Whitaker, Haslingden Road!”


Well worth a visit is the Impressions show at Towneley Hall. The show features work by 25 printmakers from Prospect Studios. The show is planned to run until the end of the year.

For visiting the show here is a little bit of information about how we are working during COVID:

To visit, people will need to book a slot with us at Towneley (Mon-Thurs & Sat-Sun):

From the October half term our opening hours will change to weekends only – 12-4pm, last entry at 3.30pm

Note: To promote the show on Facebook please do tag Towneley Hall in any posts and use the exhibition link from the website which can be found here: