FLOCKS of coloured sheep are set to descend on rural East Lancashire as part of a new art project.

Clitheroe artist Lesley Woods wants to bring 100 life-size painted sheep to the Forest of Bowland and is hoping that it will be a boost for both tourism and businesses in the area.

Similar to Liverpool's popular lambananas and penguins the fibreglass sheep would be dotted across the Ribble Valley and would require sponsors who would nominate an artist to design and paint them.

Last year, Skipton Town Council ran a similar scheme where 22 sheep sculptures were positioned at points around the town.

The sheep were individually designed and decorated following a competition to find the best ideas.

Ms Woods has already secured some funding for her Sheep Parade project from the Forest of Bowland Sustainable Development Fund.

She said: “Skipton organised such an event last year and said that numbers visiting the town increased by half a million, so why can't the Forest of Bowland and surrounding towns?

I am looking into the support and expertise required to make such an event – to be called Sheep Parade – a success and provide funds for local charities.

“I would like to hear from businesses and organisations, both small and large, as well as individuals who would like to support it.

"The sheep would all require a sponsor or a group of sponsors and an artist to design and paint them.

"The artist need not be an individual, it could be a community such as a school.”

As with the Skipton scheme, at the end of the life of the sheep, they would be auctioned off.

Ms Woods, said: “If the event is to go ahead, I will also be looking for sponsors and venues for the launch events and the very important auction. I will also need volunteer ‘shepherds’ – especially in the villages – to keep the sheep safe.”

Cathy Hopley, from the Forest of Bowland AONB, said: “We are pleased to be able to support Lesley’s plans for a Sheep Parade in Bowland.

"It could be a really innovative and creative way of attracting tourists to the area, whilst also bringing together businesses, residents and schools in an exciting arts project.”