Young people will be working with leading Yorkshire poet Simon Armitage on an ambitious project placing verses of a poem across a permanent trail of stones spanning the Pennine Watershed landscape.

The Stanza Stones project will be started at Ilkley Literature Festival next month and is expected to run until June 2012.

It is part of imove, Yorkshire’s signature arts and culture programme, ensuring a legacy from the London Olympics 2012.

The first phase of Legacy Trust UK funding for the £130,000 three-part scheme – also supported by Yorkshire Forward and Arts Council England – has been agreed.

Stanza Stones centres on a poem specially written by Mr Armitage, inspired by his response to the Pennine Watershed and the relationship between the landscape and language of Yorkshire.

Young writers aged 13-25 from the region will take part in masterclasses with him, and their work will join his poem, inscribed on a series of stones across the Watershed, from Ilkley to Mr Armitage’s home town of Marsden, near Huddersfield.

Ilkley Literature Festival director Rachel Feldberg said discussions were under way on where the stones would be sited, and what would be written on them.

“Each stone will be in response to the needs of a particular place. Eventually we’d like it to form a ‘treasure hunt’ for families to follow, using leaflets,” she said.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to work with one of the UK’s most important, inspiring poets. Simon is very popular, you only have to spend a bit of time with him out on the moor and people will recognise him and say ‘hello’.

“He’s just walked the Pennine Way, so hopefully he’s picked up more inspiration from that.

“We’re looking for any young people who enjoy writing, there will be a taster session for teenagers and a new weekly young writers’ group. We’re also giving other people chance to write poems about the landscape, which will go on our website.”

A number of festival events will reflect the emphasis on learning about the landscape; there will be talks by archaeologist Francis Pryor and geologist Richard Fortey, and a chance to learn about landscape photography on Ilkley Moor.