In search of Colourfields

Pennine Lancashire’s Panopticons are a unique series of twenty-first century landmarks purposely situated in high-point places which give panoramic views of the surrounding areas and after visiting the Singing Ringing Tree three weeks ago I decided to seek out another of the landmarks. Blackburn’s Corporation Park features Colourfields and as it’s an easy drive from home I went there just a couple of days ago.
The Colourfields landmark sits on the former cannon battery which was originally installed for the park’s opening in 1857 and which housed two Russian cannons captured during the Crimean War. Unfortunately time took its toll over the years and the battery fell into disrepair but the design and construction of Colourfields in 2006 enabled the structure to be preserved rather than demolished, which would otherwise have been necessary owing to its deterioration.
The large park is situated on a very steep hill to the north west of Blackburn town centre and while I realised that Colourfields would more than likely be towards the top end actually finding it wasn’t the easiest task. Numerous paths led to different parts of the park but following various signs didn’t help as they seemed to be sending me in all different directions, and I was just beginning to lose the will to live when I got chatting to a very nice couple who lived locally and were able to tell me where the landmark was and how to get to it.
Unfortunately when I did finally find Colourfields I felt distinctly underwhelmed and disappointed. There was nothing anywhere to say what it actually is, no information board, nothing, and having previously seen photos of it on the internet it was vastly different to what I expected. Any colour had disappeared almost into oblivion, there was a tile missing from one of the steps and some parts of the original coloured floor surface had been replaced at some time with ordinary plain grey tiles. The surrounding railings were nothing to write home about either, they looked just like the ones you find where you cross a road junction with traffic lights – in short, the whole thing just looked incredibly dull.
Internet information says that from the viewpoint you can see over the park down below and the town beyond, and on a clear day there are distant views towards Lytham, Southport and Fleetwood; unfortunately most of the view was obscured by trees and the sun was shining from completely the wrong direction so I didn’t take any photos from there. For the purposes of this post I’ve pinched a couple of shots from the internet just to show what Colourfields should look like but the other four photos are my own.
Colourfields 2ColourfieldsDSCF6803 - CopyDSCF6804 - Copy (2)DSCF6804 - Copy - CopyDSCF6806 - Copy
It’s a shame that Colourfields has lost its colour and is looking a bit worse for wear as it was obviously once quite attractive, but though much of the internet blurb describes it as being ‘dramatic’ and ‘impressive’ I’m afraid my own opinion of it is vastly different. On the other hand, Corporation Park itself is lovely and I got some great photos while I was there so I may very well revisit another time but one thing’s for certain – I won’t be walking all the way up to Colourfields.

18 thoughts on “In search of Colourfields

    1. Or even Boringfields! πŸ™‚ I can imagine when it was first installed it would have looked nice with its bright colours and would have been a bit of a talking point but now it just looks dull and uninteresting. I think if I’d previously seen a photo of it as it is now I wouldn’t have bothered going to find it.

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  1. You’re right, it doesn’t really “do” much, does it. But at least it looks as if you had the place to yourself and that is always a good thing πŸ™‚

    There’s a short walk from the Whinlatter Forest park which is the same – when set up there would have been stunning views, but in the intervening years trees have grown and the “views” are now solid walls of conifers!

    The whole project reminds me of the early guidebooks [Wordsworth era] in the Lake District which told people exactly where to stand to appreciate the scenery. . . our 21st century view sees that as limited and proscriptive, I wonder what future generations will make of the Colourfields project.

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  2. There were a good few people in the park that day as the weather was glorious but the place is so big it was easy enough to have parts of it to myself – and with Colourfields being situated right at the very top I can imagine that not everyone wants to make the steep climb to get up there.

    Coincidentally, only this morning I’ve found out about a monument to Wainwright on a hill above Blackburn – it features mileage pointers to some of his favourite places and the info about it is quite interesting. Maybe I’ll be tempted to search it out sometime πŸ™‚

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  3. It’s such a shame when you make an effort to visit somewhere and it leaves you feeling disappointed. We’re lucky in this country that so many buildings and landmarks are preserved, yet others are allowed to fall into disrepair. It doesn’t look as though much money would have to be spent on Colourfields to bring it back to what it once was.

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    1. When I finally found Colourfields I wasn’t sure if it was actually it as it looked so different compared to the colourful image I had in my mind – the things that stood out most were all the grey council railings 😦 I suppose good old ‘council cutbacks’ could be preventing the colour being maintained but if it’s too expensive to replace the coloured floor tiles then maybe some coloured safety floor paint would do the job. As it is now it’s what I would describe as a ‘one-hit wonder’ 😦

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  4. If you do go then I would suggest maybe a clear day once the leaves have gone off the trees then you’ll get a better view. And if you want to avoid the climb all the way up through the park there’s a road running close to the viewpoint with just a very short walk to it – I only discovered that after I’d walked all the way up there! If you want any details just let me know πŸ™‚

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    1. I’m not blaming nature for growing but I’m sure if the old cannon battery was to be saved from demolition the powers that be could have commissioned something far more interesting to put there which wouldn’t be affected by the surrounding trees.

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    1. Sorry Paul, I confess I had to look that one up. I liked the Beatles in the very early days (coincidentally had a blast from the past a few nights ago when I watched A Hard Day’s Night on late night tv) but I was never into the later Sgt. Pepper stuff. I did laugh at the meaning of the holes though πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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