About the Ted Hughes project
The Ted Hughes Project, South Yorkshire, was established in Mexborough in early 2015. It aims to:
- Promote the principle that everyone can engage with creative writing and poetry.
- Celebrate and develop the legacy of Ted Hughes in South Yorkshire.
- Offer social and artistic opportunities through creative events.
- Explore a wide range of art forms that can collaborate with creative writing to create new artistic work and events.
- Create projects that promote Mexborough and South Yorkshire and engage local communities.
- Run an annual Ted Hughes Festival that holds regional and national significance.
- Develop partnerships and relationships that allow the organisation to develop.
- Develop a Ted Hughes creative trail that highlights significant sites of interest.
Ted Hughes in Mexborough
On 17 September 1938, at the age of eight, Edward James ‘Teddy’ Hughes moved with his family from Mytholmroyd in the upper Calder Valley to Mexborough, South Yorkshire, where his parents, Billy and Edith, had acquired a newsagent’s shop at 75 Main Street.
The Hughes family was to spend the next thirteen years in Mexborough and it was here that young Teddy developed into the poet of his subsequent fame – Ted Hughes, one of the great masters of the English language and Poet Laureate from 1984 to 1998.
Hughes’ Mexborough experience was hugely influential to his poetic, intellectual and personal development, shaping his artistic tastes, forming his worldview and informing much of his writing. The move from rural West Yorkshire to thriving industrial Mexborough was a culture shock for the Hughes family.
Until the mid-1940s, young Ted helped out his parents by taking a weekend paper round, the route of which has inspired this trail. Starting from 75 Main Street, Hughes crossed the canal and River Don before walking up Ferryboat Lane to Manor Farm in Old Denaby.
Largely developed from his education and experiences
The themes that underpin much of Hughes’ poetry – nature, animals, fishing, folklore, mythology, religion – largely developed from his education and experiences exploring the landscape of Mexborough and the surrounding area.
The Ted Hughes Trail
The Ted Hughes Trail takes is a two mile walk highlighting locations important to Hughes and other points on the route of historic interest. There is an optional one mile extension.
- Starting at 75 Main Street head towards the town centre. You will pass the Post Office on your left before joining the pedestrianised High Street.
- After passing the plaques to both Mike Hawthorn and Iron Hague turn left onto Dolcliffe Road, opposite the old library, then take the first right onto Hampden Road. Use the right hand pavement of Dolcliffe Road to avoid some steps.
- Continue past the sports ground then turn right onto College Road, the location of Hughes’ former school.
- Continue along College Road then turn right onto Adwick Road and walk down to the roundabout. Turn left and then take care crossing this busy road onto Quarry Street.
- Turn left at the bottom of Quarry Street and walk past St John the Baptist Church. At the Ferryboat Inn turn right and look for the Public Footpath sign near the end of the road.
- Cross the canal over the footbridge. Here you can decide whether to take the towpath back towards Mexborough Station and the town centre, or take the extension route to Manor Farm. This extension is not accessible for wheelchair users due to the bridges over the River Don and railway line.
You are responsible for your own safety whilst undertaking this route, please be considerate to others. Dress appropriately and take extra care when crossing roads and walking close to waterways. Whilst the main route is mostly accessible it is steep in places and there are a couple of road crossings without dropped kerbs.
- Train: There are direct trains to Mexborough Station from Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster as well as other local stations.
- Road: Mexborough is accessible from the M1, A1(M) and M18. There are local buses connecting to Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham.
- Walking: The long distance path the Dearne Way starts/ends in Mexborough and also connects to the Trans Pennine Trail.
- Parking: On street parking is available close to the start of the trail. There are also free and pay-and-display car parks in the town centre.
- Refreshments: Mexborough town centre has many cafés, pubs and shops serving refreshments. Manor Farm in Old Denaby is now a family friendly pub restaurant.
- The Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership is a five-year scheme, running from June 2014 focusing on the heritage and wildlife of the Dearne Valley, working with the local communities to protect, preserve and enhance the area. The project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. More information can be found at www.discoverdearne.org.uk.