Barnsley's Elephants 

Town Centre Trail 18 – 28 February 2022

Inspired by the story of Elmer the patchwork elephant by David McKee, Barnsley Museums have been working with artists and communities in each of the six principal towns to decorate a series of Elmer sculptures. Barnsley’s Elephants have been on display in Penistone, Wombwell, Cudworth, Royston, Hoyland and Goldthorpe over the winter.

This February half term the elephants are gathering in the Town Centre to create a trail as part of the Love Barnsley festival. Barnsley’s Elephants will be joined by a seventh sculpture painted as the character of Elmer himself.

Where would you hide an elephant? Will you find them all?

In some of the principal towns people have had the opportunity to decorate mini versions of the elephant sculptures.

So be sure to look out for the mini elephants too.

Barnsley’s Elephants will return to the principal towns in March.



Elmer has been in the window of Hoyland Library – perhaps you’ve seen him there?

Artist Louise Wright was inspired by conversations with the volunteers at Owd Martha’s Yard to design an elephant for Hoyland.

Hoyland’s elephant was on King Street.

Local children including pupils from Hoyland Springwood Primary School, Jump Primary School and Hoyland Common Primary School created designs for a trail of mini elephants which brightened up the town over December and January. Some of the mini elephants are on display at Hoyland Library – if you pop in over February half term you might even get a chance to design your own elephant for Hoyland.


Artist Patrick Murphy created an elephant for his hometown in celebration of Wombwell Woods. Wombwell’s elephant was on Wombwell High Street where lots and lots of people saw it and wondered where it had appeared from.  The children in year 5 at Kings Oak Primary School were inspired by Patrick’s sculpture to paint their own designs onto mini elephants to make a trail in the shops on Wombwell High Street this February. Some of the children’s elephants are in Wombwell library too, and some are on display in the Cooper Gallery in the current exhibition ‘Pride of Place Project: Wombwell’ by the Caravan Gallery. (from 19 February to 14 May 2022)


Royston’s elephant has been on display on the grass outside Royston Library. It was painted by Fabric Lenny whose design uses shapes and colours like the water of Royston canal and the fruit that used to grow all around the town.

Local craft enthusiasts painted mini elephants for a trail in the shops across Royston and local primary school children decorated panels designed by Fabric Lenny. There were activity packs to collect from the library as well.


Artist, Lewy spoke to people at at Age UK Barnsley’s chatty café to find out all about Cudworth.  The Cudworth elephant includes lots of detail from the landscape around Cudworth. Perhaps you saw it in St John’s Garden on Barnsley Road?

Children from Churchfield Primary School wrote stories inspired by Elmer and the Cudworth elephant with poet laureate, Eloise Unerman and then illustrated them with the help of  artist Bridget Murray.  Young volunteers from Jolly Good Communities have been working with writer Lawrence Dodd and artist Ross Bennett to make zines.

There will be a sharing event for the children and the young people at Cudworth Library soon.


In Goldthorpe, artist Lydia Caprani led mini elephant painting workshops at the Deane Community Arts Festival in September. The mini elephants were in shop windows along Doncaster Road.

Goldthorpe’s elephant was in Goldthorpe Library. Lydia did a wonderful job of painting it to remind people of Goldthorpe’s beautiful green spaces.


If you’ve been shopping in Penistone you might have seen the Penistone elephant outside Tescos. Artist, Charlotte Fairclough has painted a beautiful design featuring the viaduct and countryside inspired by conversations she had with local people.

Charlotte ran workshops with children at St John the Baptist Primary School, stitching banners inspired by the story of Elmer.

A Barnsley Museums project funded by Arts Council England (National Lottery) and supported by BM&HT, Barnsley Libraries and BMBC.

Barnsley's Elephant Trail

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Find out more about what's happening as part of the Love Barnsley Festival