BENTHAM, North Yorkshire.


APRIL 2013
I'm delighted to report that there are all sorts of new moves and ideas afoot in this small town on the cusp of the Yorkshire Dales Three Peaks, the Lakes and the Forest of Bowland, where my main studio still is.

Most of the 14 paintings at the Railway Station have been re-installed, permanently this time, thanks to popular demand and the efforts of the Friends of Bentham Station and Craven DC's arts fund. These paintings are on a theme of "Fun for Free", a sort of anti-tourism tourist attraction, showing some of the entertaining things you can do without spending money - paddling, mucking about on the swings, watching cricket, poking around in puddles with a twig, ie nature study - kite flying and sketching - and that perennial country pastime, waiting for something to happen. People get off the train here because it looks interesting. Maybe all country stations should have some such decoration. Local artists everywhere take note.

Trying to make travelling by public transport more appealing has long been a crusade for me, so making bus-shelters into cheery environments is part of that. And they do provide good, sheltered public mural surfaces to paint. The School Hill, Bentham one is being re-furbished over this coming summer, with the walls properly rendered at last. More news on this coming soon. The last one was 12 years old, unscratched (well done kids, no vandals here) so - it's time for a change. (There's another bus shelter with newts on the Lakes & Cumbria page, and more murals, very big ones, on the Ulverston page)

There were 67 species of native British fungi on it. It was a shrine to Mycology. The postcard is still available.

One way to get to know the place is by walking the Heritage trail, a nine-mile ramble over the railway, along the riverbank, through some farmyards and up onto the moors where the Big Stone resides in antediluvian splendour. All this - nature, agriculture, geology and so on - is explained as you go by some illustrated (54 pics) signboards which add entertainment to the stroll. OR you can just go to

If you click on the numbers on the map you can go for a virtual walk, never mind the weather, no mud at all. This is a vast exciting website with talking woolly mammoths, jigsaw puzzles, thunderstorms, zoomy bits - just click on absolutely everything, you're in for a treat.

They don't make websites like this any more. It was designedand built in about 2003 by Tom Barron, with whom I share some genes, he of

Agricultural Show
The Agricultural Show
(Imaginary animals made from vegetables)
(Available as a postcard )

 Panto Rehersals
Panto Rehearsals

  Illustration below from one of the
"Bustling Bentham" posters.
"Miles of footpaths- fairly good fishing"
"Between the Three Peaks and the Forest of Bowland"
"Not Market Day"

The original is for sale. £200
There are several Bentham postcards, featuring Bonfire night, etc available @ 30 p each, in the Post Office if you rummage about in the pile by the window, or from the Looking Well, or from me by post,


A Cricket Match
(A station painting)
 one of the fab free leaflets full of pics info & mild exaggeration. (2004) Another with a big map inside covers the "Heritage Trail" . These are due to be reprinted soon.