Mighty Atom is great trip at any time
The Panopticons are permanent pieces of public art at four different locations in east Lancashire, three of them on top of hills with fantastic views.
The Atom is easily the best of these, a stunning stone structure situated high up on the side of a valley.
Coupled with a lovely walk – just as good in winter as summer – and you’ve got a fantastic day trip.
The Atom is a great place to shelter or eat a picnic. Kids love sitting in the open windows and running around on the hill outside.
Sadly, a centre-piece silver ball is no longer there – it was hacked off by local hooligans some years ago.
In the village itself there are some brilliant bridges to get across and some the ruins of Wycoller Hall explore.
Though parts of the walk are steep and muddy, the route is fairly easy for kids, with enough twists and turns to stop them realising just how far they’ve walked.
The race back up the hill to The Atom can be quite fun if there’s a treat on offer at the other end of the exercise.
The Atom is not the easiest to find.
From the A6068 Keighley Road turn south on to School Lane and look for the little car park as you drive up the hill.
Don’t follow signs to Wycoller Country Park which you might see earlier if you are travelling from Colne.
Parking right by The Atom means you can leave your picnic in the car and start walking. The trail, if you initially head south, takes you through someone’s garden but don’t worry – it is a public footpath.
Eventually you drop down into the valley. Walk into Wycoller, play in the old ruins, and then walk up the stone steps back up to The Atom.