The much loved former Poet Laureate, Ted Hughes, spent much of his later life living in Devon, and cared deeply for the natural world and the landscape he found there. Visitors to Stover Country Park near Bovey Tracey in Devon, can follow the Ted Hughes Poetry Trail, and enjoy some of his work in a setting created to benefit the wildlife that he loved, and worked to conserve. Along the two mile trail, specially designed posts display Hughes’ poems, each with a nature or wildlife theme. There is also a children’s trail, guaranteed to spark an interest in poetry. There are sixteen poetry posts and the walk takes about two hours, longer if like me, you’re on a photography walk as well! Some of the Ted Hughes poems around the trail are An Otter, A Cormorant, Nightjar, Trees, The Lake, The Kingfisher, The Thought-Fox, and Dragonfly. I didn’t see all sixteen, so I’ll have to go back! There are beautiful wood carvings, and the constant sound of woodland and water birds, with little rustlings and shufflings in the woods to keep you company. Ted Hughes found the countryside inspiring and his unique voice continues to inspire both adults and children. If you don’t know his work, I hope you will try to discover it, especially the poem ‘ The thought Fox’, you can hear him reading it on the poetryarchive.org this is what he said about it.
Long after I am gone, as long as a copy of the poem exists, every time anyone reads it the fox will get up somewhere out in the darkness and come walking towards them.
23 thoughts on “The Ted Hughes Poetry Trail”
I love this. What a wonderful outing for the whole family. What an innocent and enjoyable way to expose little ones to poetry. ❤ ❤
What an awesome idea. Yes, awesome.
I must say I was bowled over by it, do you know Ted Hughes work? I think you’d like it!
I have read some here and here as well as Sylvia’s but do not have a burning interest in poetry. I had one of his books (something about love letters?) some years after Sylvia passed.
What a fab and unique idea… 😉
A lovely post Gilly. Made me want to come and walk the trail. The poems show a humour I haven’t ever associated with Hughes. The wood carvings are beautiful, and I want to hear rustlings and shufflings too! Not quite the sound effects of the Australian bush.
The call to visit England is getting stronger and stronger, thanks to you, Jo and Jude.
We have everything condensed and no snakes to speak of! The three of us will have to keep working on you 🙂
Such a fabulous place, Gilly. I love the idea of drowned fishermen coming back as famished cormorants. 🙂 The wood carvings are lovely.
There were also so lovely ones done by children but in the long lines that I couldn’t photograph!
How creative for someone to build a trail and include the poems. It makes an everyday walk so engaging! Good for you and thanks for sharing!
Wouldn’t it be great if poetry was used more often and visible in everday life? 🙂
I love this idea of a poetry trail, Gilly. It reminds me of the days when I did my student teaching back in 1978. I took my students on a walk in the woods and we took turns reading parts of Thoreau’s essay “Walking.” It was one of my most successful lessons ever. 🙂
That sounds fab, did you repeat it? could you do it in China?
I only did student teaching for one semester in college, then I taught all really low-level students in a high school in Virginia for one semester. That semester was so horrible, I swore I would never teach again. Yet here I am.
I think English poetry or essays would be beyond the reach of my Chinese students. Most of them can’t understand the most basic things in English. But neither can I in Chinese!
Now on my ‘to do’ list. Thanks for sharing this.
Brilliant idea, Gilly, thanks for bringing us along on the poetry trail and for introducing me to Ted Hughes’ poetry! 🙂
I had no idea he had a connection with Devon. You are a star finding yet another place for our visit list. Maybe you are trying to get us to move there!! 😉
The concept of this park is wonderful. I would love to see poems along paths in a park. It would be very tranquil plus it adds to the feel of poetry. This is a very informative post, Gilly … well done !!! ~~~~ : – )
What a delightful concept Gilly! Hope I get to walk that trail in person someday.
I’d love to walk it with you 🙂
Fingers crossed, that we will do it someday soon 🙂
Thanks for the introduction to his poetry… will have a listen to The thought Fox. Lovely way to spend time, poetry and landscape.
Love that poem the Thought-Fox…. that raw feral of the instinctual life.