A HAWORTH firm is making its mark in the world of land art.

And the grounds maintenance outfit, Lawnnorder, has invested in state-of-the-art equipment which is transforming the way it carries out the work.

Soon after the company was founded by Dave Burlison 15 years ago, it began marking-out pitches for schools and sports clubs.

It also took on the more complex challenge of creating running tracks and had its first foray into land art when the Tour de France Grand Depart came to this area in 2014. But the old methods are now making way for new, supported by a £7,000 grant from the South Pennines LEADER Local Action Group – which is led by rural regeneration agency Pennine Prospects.

“Complex calculations were required for an eight-lane running track – it would take two people a full day using a tape measure, string, pegs and calculator to get it right,” said Mr Burlison. "It was demanding work and incredibly labour intensive.

“Then when the Tour de France came to Yorkshire we discovered there was also a market for land art and we marked out a dozen designs of various kinds for clients like local councils and Pennine Prospects. The real challenge was to get everything in scale so that it looked impressive from above.”

He says the new kit is transformational. “Old line markers are pretty basic bits of kit but the new one is digitally controlled and uses GPS so there is no room for error,” added Mr Burlison. “However, it’s even more impressive than that. We can upload a land art design on to a tablet fixed atop the line marker and the technology translates the curves and lines into GPS co-ordinates. If you veer slightly off the required line when marking out, the equipment will simply stop spraying, so it’s pretty foolproof. It does all the hard work and we can now complete jobs more accurately and much quicker.”

The first test of the equipment was translating a painting of triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee on bikes, which won top prize in a school competition, into a huge artwork covering most of an Armley football field for the Tour de Yorkshire.

The company – which employs five people – has now been commissioned to create more land art for the UCI World Championships cycle race, which comes to the district this month.

Mr Burlison said the firm had also used part of the grant to buy a drone and a staff member was training to become a licensed operator. Images from the drone will be the final check that everything looks OK and they will be excellent for marketing,” he said.

Sally Hinton, from Pennine Prospects, said she was delighted at the help being provided by the LEADER project. She said: “This is an excellent example of how the scheme is providing a smaller company with a big boost to its capacity and effectiveness.”