“Is it a mirage, or have the aliens finally landed?” are just two of the thoughts that might flash into the mind of M66 motorists if they glance at the Haslingden horizon.

Fortunately, it’s neither, but if you’ve ever fancied visiting a panopticon, it’s no good poring over a guidebook during your summer holiday to Greece.

The Halo, atop Cribden End Lane in Haslingden, is one of four panopticons across East Lancashire. As an impressive outdoor sculpture, it’s hard to beat.

It’s a shining example – quite literally, thanks to the LED technology that bathes it in blue light – of how industrial-scarred Lancashire has transformed itself in the 21st century.

The Bolton News: Haslingden Halo by Gemma Lindsay

Erected on a reclaimed landfill site in 2007, The Halo symbolises the Lancashire spirit at its best, those traits of creativity, resilience and uniqueness.

Thanks to a collaboration between Mid Pennine Arts, the Lancashire Economic Partnership, and the Lancashire Environmental Arts Network, The Halo has more than fulfilled the brief to help revitalise communities by integrating art into the natural environment.

Designed by John Kennedy of LandLab, the steel construction, with a diameter of 18 metres, resembles a skeletal silver dish perched on a tripod that lifts it five metres above the ground – from a distance it looks like it is hovering.

The Bolton News: Haslingden Halo by Dan Conway

Aside from the stunning structure itself, The Halo’s position on Top O’Slate hill affords breath-taking views of Peel Tower, Darwen Tower and, on a good day, the Peak District.

From the starlit skies on frosty winter nights, to sunrise and sunset on long summer days, it’s a treat whatever the season.

The countryside in the immediate vicinity is perfect for a nature ramble, a game of hide and seek or a picnic.

The Bolton News: Jezza White took this of Baxter exploring Haslingden Halo

The sheer scale and sci-fi-ness of the structure will be a particular source of fascination for children. What better way of dragging them away from social media and letting them engage with art without them even realising it?

Even better, by parking near St James Church and walking up Higher Lane, you can incorporate a bit of exercise on your visit.

For those with mobility issues, some parking is available at the summit.

The dictionary describes a panopticon as “a place where everyone can be observed without being aware of it”.

In these days of doorbell cameras and CCTV, isn’t it time you bucked the trend and satisfied your curiosity by paying a visit to The Halo?