The Singing Ringing Tree is an impressive musical sculpture located on a scenic hill in Burnley. The tree panopticon has even been voted one of Great Britain’s most iconic landmarks. So, if you’re living nearby or travelling in the area, it’s worth stopping in at Burnley to scope out the Singing Ringing Tree. In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about visiting Burnely’s Singing Ringing Tree sculpture.
We hope you find this guide helpful. If you’re looking for other things to do around Burnley, then read our guides about the nearby Pendle Hill, Forest of Bowland and Yorkshire Dales. Otherwise, please read our guide about the best walks in Lancashire.
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What Is the Singing Ringing Tree?
The Singing Ringing Tree is a fascinating musical sculpture positioned solemnly on Crown Point, which is a prominent hill overlooking the town of Burnley. Essentially, it’s a wind-powered sound sculpture that resembles a tree.
The sculpture was designed by architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu from Tonkin Liu Architects. Construction of the Singing Ringing Tree was completed in 2006. Since then, visitors have been flocking to the site. You’ll find that the sculpture is made from pipes of galvanised steel stacked in layers. The arrangement of the steel pipes resembles a tree blowing and bending in the wind.
By harnessing energy from the wind, the sculpture was cleverly designed to produce a low tuneful sound. After visiting, Beck and I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it produces music. Even on a fairly windy day, the sculpture tends to produce a soft hum.
In 2007, the architects of the Singing Ringing Tree won the National Award for architectural excellence from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Whilst in 2015, the sculpture was named one of the most 21 influential landmarks in Great Britain in the 21st century by the Independent. Certainly, the sculpture has well and truly helped to put Burnley on the map.
FYI – the Singing Ringing Tree is often incorrectly called the Ringing Singing Tree!
Where Is the Singing Ringing Tree?
It’s located in the Borough of Burnley in Lancashire, which is in the northwest of England. Please click on the image below to access an interactive map of the area on Google Maps.
Singing Ringing Tree: Other Useful Information
Now you know what the Singing Ringing Tree is and where it’s located. We’re now going to look at some practical tips and information about visiting the cultural landmark. Let’s start with details about getting there.
How to Get to the Singing Ringing Tree in Burnley
The quickest and easiest way to get to the Singing Ringing Tree in Burnley is to drive there yourself. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, we recommend hiring a car using Rentalcars.com. You’ll find a wide variety of cars on Rental Cars for decent prices. The website is user-friendly and booking online is very straightforward.
It’s also possible to get to the sculpture using public transport. From Manchester, you can get a bus (X43 Witchway) to the Waggoners Inn and then walk around 2.5km (1.6 miles) to get to the attraction. Otherwise, you can get a train (Northern Rail) from Manchester to Burnley. From Burnley, you’d catch a bus to the Waggoners Inn. As described above, from the Waggoners Inn, you’d then walk to the landmark. We recommend using Google Maps and the Trainline to help plan any journeys using public transport.
Although it’s possible to reach the sculpture using public transport, we don’t recommend it. Depending on where you’re travelling from in the UK, it may be a bit of a journey to just get to Manchester, let alone Burnley. Although using public transport is better for the environment, it’s much more convenient driving to the attraction itself. After all, there’s a car park located right next to the attraction.
Singing Ringing Tree Parking
Parking for the Singing Ringing Tree is located here on Crown Point Road. This relatively small car park has enough space for around 15 vehicles or so. From the car park, it’s just a short five-minute walk to reach the attraction. Although, there are several walking routes you can do which include visiting the attraction.
Singing Ringing Tree Walking Routes
Most people visit the Singing Ringing Tree by simply parking at the Crown Point Road car park and then completing the short walk to the attraction. From the car park, you’ll follow a roughly 300 metre winding pebbled trail to the attraction. The gently undulating terrain can be uneven in parts, so mind your step. Along the short walk, you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the town of Burnley as well as far-reaching views of Lancashire and Pendle Hill.
As mentioned, there are numerous walking trails that involve visiting the sculpture as part of a longer walk. Indeed, if you’re wanting to do a long walk and want to see more of the surrounding landscape and areas, then we recommend choosing one of the walks described below. Let’s start with the Wayside Arts Trail (AKA the Burnley Arts Trail).
Wayside Arts Trail (AKA the Singing Ringing Tree Walk)
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 9.5km (5.9 miles)
- Time: 3 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 300m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Towneley Hall
- Map: VisitLancashire
The Wayside Arts Trail is one of the most popular walking routes that involve visiting the attraction. This cultural and heritage-themed semi-urban trail visits several artworks and installations en route to the main attraction – the Singing Ringing Tree!
The Clowbridge Reservoir to Singing Ringing Tree Walk
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 9.3km (5.8 miles)
- Time: 3 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 255m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Clowbridge Reservoir
- Map: AllTrails
Other than the cultural trail mentioned above, the Clowbridge Reservoir to Singing Ringing Tree Walk is the next most popular route. Starting from the Clowbridge Reservoir, you’ll navigate east, using several farmland and countryside trails to reach the attraction.
Thieveley Pike and Singing Ringing Tree Walk
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 12.1km (7.5 miles)
- Time: 3 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 400m
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Trailhead: Holme Chapel
- Map: AllTrails
One of the most challenging walks to reach the sculpture is the Thieveley Pike route. From Holme Chapel, you’ll complete a circular ramble along the hills surrounding Burnley to reach Thieveley Pike as well as the Singing Ringing Tree.
Fun Facts About the Singing Ringing Tree
Other than the intriguing physical structure of the sculpture, there is an interesting history and pop culture behind its construction and creation. Below, we’ll look at some fun facts about the sculpture.
- The name of the sculpture was partly inspired by a 1957 German film called The Singing Ringing Tree. The original film was actually turned into a TV series by the BBC in the 1960s. Featuring a prince, princess, king, enchanted tree and many dwarfs, the film has gone down in folklore as a particularly freaky and bizarre production! Certainly, I don’t recommend showing it to your children these days, unless you’re looking for an unusual punishment!
- Classic FM radio announced the sculpture as one of the weirdest musical instruments in history. Although, as mentioned, it was also named one of the most iconic landmarks in the UK by the Independent. You win some, you lose some, I suppose.
- There are other similar constructions around the world. Taking inspiration from the original design in Burnley, similar sculptures have been created in the USA and in Saudi Arabia. Who thought this musical sculpture would draw such wide attention from around the globe?
Other Things to Do Nearby
After visiting the attraction, there are still plenty of other things to do in the area. As mentioned, from the sculpture, you’ll enjoy fine views of Pendle Hill. Other than enjoying views of the famous Lancashire landform, you’ll have to climb Pendle Hill itself. For more information, please read our guide about the Pendle Hill Walk from Barley. If you’re looking for an easier walk in the area, consider the Pendle Sculpture Trail, which also starts from Barley.
As you may know, Pendle Hill falls in a beautiful area called the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). There are plenty of fantastic walks and charming villages to explore in this underrated part of the country. Please read our Forest of Bowland Walking Guide and Visitor’s Guide for more information.
Otherwise, Burnley isn’t far away from other nearby towns such as Bolton, Bury and Blackburn. These other Lancashire towns fall in the gorgeous West Pennine Moors area, where there are plenty of nice attractions and stunning walks. For more information about the West Pennine Moors, read here.
Of course, there are many brilliant national parks in the northwest of England too. The breathtaking Yorkshire Dales National Park is located near Burnley. Indeed, Beck and I visited the Singing Ringing Tree after exploring the Yorkshire Dales in the morning. For more information about the Yorkshire Dales, read our guides about the best walks and waterfalls (guides coming soon).
Below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about the Singing Ringing Tree in Burnley.
Who Made the Singing Ringing Tree?
Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu, from Tonkin Liu Architects, designed the sculpture.
When Was the Singing Ringing Tree Made?
Construction finished in 2006.
Why Was the Singing Ringing Tree Made?
It was built as part of a project led by the East Lancashire Environmental Arts Network. The purpose of the project was to add a cultural touch to the area. The Singing Ringing Tree was one of four landmarks positioned in the Pennines as part of the project. The other panopticons include the Atom in Pendle, Colourfields in Blackburn and the Haslingden Halo in Rossendale.
What Does the Singing Ringing Tree Sound Like?
The music sculpture has been likened to a wind harp. Given the design, the sound produced by the sculpture is discordant. So, it sort of sounds like a badly played wind harp. Admittedly, Beck and I visited on quite a windy day and didn’t hear many sounds produced.
How Does the Singing Ringing Tree Produce Sound?
All of the steel pipes have a hole on their underside. By having steel pipes at different lengths, wind passing through the pipes harnesses this energy, producing slightly different harmonies.
How Long Is the Walk to the Singing Ringing Tree?
From the main car park, it’s a very short walk to the attraction. It’s roughly a 500 metres walk, taking roughly five minutes each way. As mentioned, there are longer walking routes that you can do to reach the attraction. For more information, read the Walking Routes section.
What to Wear and Take
Below, you’ll find our hiking gear essentials for completing any of the long walks to the Singing Ringing Tree in Burnley.
- Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots: these hiking boots are super comfortable and lightweight.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a fantastic windproof/waterproof jacket.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for walking, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- The North Face TKA Glacier Fleece Jacket: an excellent warmth:weight ratio fleece jacket that’ll help keep you warm.
- Columbia Convertible Trousers: a value for money pair of water-resistant convertible trousers.
- You can visit any time of day: this attraction is open all day and all year round. Unfortunately, this freedom of access has inevitably led to vandalism. When we visited, sadly, the landmark had been graffitied.
- Other things to do and events to attend in Lancashire: head to Visit Lancashire for the most up-to-date information about events and things to do in the area.
- After exploring Lancashire, visit Yorkshire: there is much to do and see in both counties.
Do you have any questions? Please leave us a comment below.