Companion Stones: contemporary artists and poets seek the future

This is an archived press release

Monday 17 May 2010

17 May 2010

Companion Stones: contemporary artists and poets seek the future

Companion stone for Shillito Wood by Alyson Hallett and Amanda Wray
Companion Stones, a unique exhibition of text on stone sculptures, will be opened by the Duke of Devonshire at the Moorland Centre, Edale, in the Peak District National Park on Monday May 24 at 3pm.

The Duke has taken a keen interest in the creation of the 12 sculptures designed by local poets and artists and organised by Arts in the Peak, which will sit as companions to the Derbyshire Guide Stoops. They will be exhibited at the Moorland Centre until mid-July, giving people the opportunity to see them before they are transported to their moorland sites.

Guide Stoops were erected in the early 18th century to help travellers across treacherous moors, each stoop providing directions to the nearest market town.  Each Companion Stone also provides directions, but to the future, an equally treacherous terrain.

The sculptures were designed by 18 Peak District poets and artists and were manufactured by sculptor Amanda Wray in Wirksworth and masons at Heritage Stoneworks in Tideswell.

Companion Stones was very much a collaborative project. Typical were poets and artist Ann Atkinson, Jo Bell and Kate Genever who worked together to design two stones for the Longshaw Estate.

"It was just great to work with two other artists together with the local ranger and farmer." said Ann Atkinson. "It provided a real insight, not only how other artists work but how the land is managed and what it means to other people.”

"The real inspiration" said Charles Monkhouse who devised and led the project, "are the  Guide Stoops, which though functionless today, tell of the landscape at the time of their making.  Although the Companion Stones point to the future, they are also about present. They will tell people of the future of how we feel today."

Companion Stones is organised by Arts in the Peak in collaboration with the Peak District National Park Authority and funded by the Arts Council, Gulbenkian Foundation, the Duke of Devonshire's Charitable Trust, the National Trust, local quarries and by private donations.

For further information, including walking maps, go to

This is an archived press release

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