New story trail puts past and present of the Dearne in the spotlight

An exciting new story trail aims to encourage residents to take a fresh, fun look at their local area and inspire visitors to uncover the rich past and present of Goldthorpe and the Dearne Valley.

The Dearne Community Story Trail is supported by Barnsley Council and has been funded by the Goldthorpe Town Deal Board using the £23.1 million awarded to Goldthorpe from the UK Government’s Towns Fund.

It has been created by the team behind Dearne Community Arts Festival in conjunction with artist Lydia Caprani, storyteller Beccy Dye and local community groups and schools.

There are 16 illustrated boards in total located around Goldthorpe, Thurnscoe and Bolton on Dearne with an oval hole to put your head through so you can become part of the picture.

The aim of the project is to encourage people to get out and about and explore places they may never have been before, even if they live in the area.

Artist Lydia has designed and illustrated the boards with scenes of the locations where they stand.

People having their photos taken at one of the boards are encouraged to share the resulting pictures online using #DearneStoryTrail.

Some photo frame boards are located inside buildings so trail followers are encouraged to check opening times before seeking them out.

A family fun day to celebrate the launch of the trail is being held from 10am to noon on Saturday, 20 January, with craft activities, face painting, storytelling sessions and fundraising stalls at Goldthorpe Library.

Many venues on the trail are opening specially so visitors can grab a photo and meet the people who have inspired the illustrations.

The project links sight and sound, as storyteller Beccy recorded conversations with local residents to collect stories which are now available to hear by scanning a QR code on each selfie board or visiting the Dearne Community Arts Festival website.

Dearne Community Arts Festival organiser Julie Turner, who has led the project, said: “This is a unique community art project which really captures the heart and soul of our area and we're thrilled to have been involved.

“It’s been immensely rewarding to work with so many amazing community groups and to listen to people's stories has been such a privilege. Working with creatives such as Lydia and Beccy, who have always gone the extra mile with us, has been a rewarding experience.

“It’s wonderful to see people taking photos with the boards and to realise that we can give people pleasure and a lot of fun through something really simple in concept.

“I encourage everyone to get involved by taking lots of photos with the boards and finding out more about Goldthorpe and the Dearne.” 

Download a map of the trail showing all the locations on the trail or pick one up from Goldthorpe Library at Saturday’s fun day.

You can find a list of locations at the bottom of this page and a full trail map at the Horse and Groom Square, the new market square which was also funded under the Goldthorpe Town Deal and officially opened in October.

Cllr Robin Franklin, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “The Dearne Community Story Trail brings to life the past and present of Goldthorpe and the Dearne through fun artwork and the voices of the people who make our communities what they are.

“There are many fascinating places to visit and community groups to celebrate in the Dearne.

“I encourage everyone to download a map and get exploring – and make sure you share a photo with us!”

Where to find the Story Trail boards:

Permanent outdoor boards:

Station House, Thurnscoe

Thurnscoe Flower Park

Goldthorpe Railway Embankment (two boards)*

Horse and Groom Square

*available by appointment or during public events.


Freestanding indoor boards (available by appointment or subject to opening hours):

Thurnscoe Library

Houghton Road Community Centre, Thurnscoe

Goldthorpe Library

Scout and Guide Hut, Lockwood Road, Goldthorpe

Dearne Playhouse

The Renaissance Centre, Bolton on Dearne (currently closed for refurbishment)


Portable boards (available by appointment):

Thurnscoe Community Plaza

Dearne Churches Together

Dearne Community Arts Festival

Dearne Area Team

One board is still to be installed at Phoenix Park in Thurnscoe as part of wider plans to improve the park. It can currently be seen by arrangement at Goldthorpe Pentecostal Community Church.


Caption: Our photo shows, from left: Julie Turner, secretary of Dearne Community Arts Festival, and Matthew Stephens, chair of Goldthorpe Town Deal Board, at Horse and Groom Square in Goldthorpe.

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