A HARD-hitting outdoor art installation in a South Lakeland woodland has won plaudits and led some to suggest the region may be home to a ‘Banksy of the North’.

The piece, situated at Halecat House and Garden, Witherslack, consists of cardboard sculptures of face and gas masks accompanied by a sign saying ‘we can’t breathe’ suspended between two trees.

“We found this sculpture by following arrows made of sticks,” said one person.

“There must have been around 20 masks.

“We have never seen anything like it before.”

The woman, who asked not to be named and came upon the installation on Monday, said it was ‘hidden in the woods’ at the end of the Halecat Garden Sculpture Trail.

She said: “All the other sculptures had numbers which corresponded to the artist and price for the sculpture.

“We weren’t able to find any details about this artist.”

A spokeswoman for Halecat House said the artwork was not part of the sculpture trail, despite its location.

Another walker who was similarly impressed by the cardboard sculptures said he had successfully located the artist and discovered they would prefer to remain anonymous, further adding to the mystery and leading the walker to suggest South Lakeland might have a ‘Banksy of the North’ on its hands - referring to the world-renowned anonymous street artist.

He provided a larger estimate for the extent of the artwork, saying masks had been put up in ‘30 plus’ trees in the woodland.

The man said when he and his wife encountered the art it ‘stopped us in our tracks’.

The Halecat Garden Sculpture Trail takes visitors on a mile-long walk that winds through woodland around the house, along which people can enjoy pieces by artists living on the estate and from across Cumbria.