The Atom Panopticon – Laneshawbridge, England - Atlas Obscura

The Atom Panopticon

Wycoller Country Park
Laneshawbridge, England

This round structure dotted with portals is one of several pieces scattered throughout Lancashire. 


On the hillside above Wycoller Country Park sits a round, folly-like pavilion known as The Atom. Holes in the side of the concrete structure frame the panoramic views.

The Atom was designed by Peter Meacock, Andrew Edmunds and Katarina Novomestska and completed in 2006. It is one of four “panopticons” scattered throughout Lancashire. The chosen panopticons (a term coined by late 19th-century philosopher Jeremy Bentham meaning “a space or device providing a panoramic view”) include the Atom; the Singing Ringing Tree in Burnley, designed by Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu; the Colourfields in Blackburn, designed by Jo Rippon Architecture and artist Sophie Smallhorn; and the Haslingden Halo, designed by LandLab architect John Kennedy.

The country park below features scenery featured in films such as The Railway Children and Fairy Tale and has links with the Brontes. It has several interesting bridges, with one thought to date back to neolithic times.

Know Before You Go

Access via the Atom car park or climb the hill from the park below. There is a 10-minute walk from the Trawden side car park into Wycoller village.

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