Published On: Tue, May 12th, 2015 on 2:08 pm

Giant land art on Elland hills is now providing home to wildlife

Officially launched during the Tour de Yorkshire weekend, Swoop, the giant permanent artwork gracing a hillside above Elland, is providing protection for Yorkshire’s wildlife.

Swoop Elland

Swoop from above.

Situated on a former landfill site and made from just recycled plastic, Swoop is proving popular with small animals.

Calderdale-based arts commissioner and project curator, Geoff Wood, said: “We lifted some of the starlings to make sure they were secured properly and we found that field mice have made nests and runs underneath the large starling shaped silhouettes.

“The 560 starlings are made from recycled plastic, which is lightweight and doesn’t put as much pressure on the ground; they’re now offering shelter and protection to wildlife; something that wouldn’t have been possible if we’d used chalk or concrete to create Swoop.”

Created by Hebden Bridge-based artist, Jane Revitt, and commissioned by Pennine Prospects with funding from the Green Bank Trust and Yorkshire Festival 2014, Swoop is a flowing abstract representation of 560 starlings swooping across the hillside.

Initially created as part of the Yorkshire Festival in celebration of the Tour de France Grand Depart cycling race in July 2014 it had been designed to link the dramatic patterns made by the birds with the movement of the cyclists’ peloton where the riders flock together to save energy.

The installation, measures 150 metres long and 65 metres from top to bottom, highlights the plight of starlings, which have seen a dramatic decline in their numbers and are now protected.

RSPB’s Big Garden Bird Watch 2015 confirms that starlings in gardens are down 80% since 1979.

Swoop can be seen from various areas in Elland.

The official vantage point is from Elland Working Men’s Club car park off South Lane, where there is also information about the project.

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