This is why Simon Armitage's poetry is carved into stones across the Pennine landscape

The 'dew stones' on the Stanza Stones trail. Photo: Tony Johnson. Technical details: Shot on a Nikon D3s, 28-70mm lens with an exposure of 1/250th @ f8, 640ISO.
The 'dew stones' on the Stanza Stones trail. Photo: Tony Johnson. Technical details: Shot on a Nikon D3s, 28-70mm lens with an exposure of 1/250th @ f8, 640ISO.

It was water that, to use the words of poet Simon Armitage, sculpted the valleys of the Pennine region and was the power behind its industries.

And it is water that is the theme of a series of his poems that are carved into stones across the Pennine uplands.

Words to wise as Simon Armitage becomes Poet Laureate – The Yorkshire Post says
The Stanza Stones project began in 2010 when Ilkley Literature Festival commissioned Armitage to create the works, responding to the landscape of the Pennine Watershed, in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games.

The words were then carved into stone in six atmospheric locations stretching from Armitage’s hometown of Marsden right through to Ilkley.

Each stone took weeks to engrave by artist Pip Hall, but when the project culminated in June 2012, a permanent poetry trail had been created.

Armitage’s work can be accessed in the form of short walks at individual locations or through a challenging 47-mile trek across the drama and beauty of Yorkshire’s countryside.

“Each carved poem describes water in one of its many forms, hence a Beck Stone, a Puddle Stone, a Mist Stone, a Rain Stone and a Dew Stone,” Armitage has said of the work. “The Snow Stone, the first to be carved, is situated in an old quarry on Pule Hill above the village of Marsden where I was born and grew up.”

The BBC and Ilkley book festival’s untold story – The Yorkshire Post says
The ‘dew stones’ are pictured here, in position at Rivock Edge above Keighley. Stood in an upright position within an open gateway, the stones bear Armitage’s words on dew, which he describes as entering fields “under cover of night” and “lifting its thimble of drink to the lips of a leaf”.

Armitage has said he hopes all the Stanza Stones act as “beacons of inspiration”, encouraging people to engage with the outdoors and the “brutal and blissful” moors “in thought, word and deed”.

Although the six stones mentioned are publicly accessible in identifiable locations, those looking hard enough might also stumble across a secret seventh stone at an unnamed site.