The Railway Children Walk.

Back in March when Wil and I spent a particularly Ice Cold Night In Haworth , I picked up a Railway children’s Walks leaflet from the train station. We eventually returned one showery ( but much warmer) day in September and tried out the longer of the two circular walks, which is six miles long.

The Railway Children is a 1970 dramatization of E Nesbit’s Classic novel about three children whose lives change dramatically when their father is sent to prison, and their mother takes them to live in rural Yorkshire, uprooting them from their middle class London life. Their new home backs onto a railway line , which brings unexpected adventures and also new friends, when the going gets tough. The film is an endearing family favourite, and one that can still be enjoyed today. πŸ™‚

Although Howarth is definitely more well known as the home of the literary Bronte family, it’s cobbled streets, old-fashioned railway stations, surrounding buttercup meadows and even the Bronte parsonage itself, made for inspired location casting in the film. Hopefully Author E Nesbit would have been pleased with the result!

The Railway Children ~ Peter, Bobbi & Phyllis.

The walk starts at Howarth Station ( we parked in the main car-park , not far from Haworth Centre), where we were lucky enough to see a steam train puffing into the station:)

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Steam Train Approaching Haworth Station.

Before I could so much as wave a white hanky, we set off from Haworth Station forecourt, crossing the main road and turning right , before turning left up Brow Road. After a short distance we spied a footpath sign on the right and followed a well trodden path through farmyards and passing Oxenhope water treatment works as we walked along side Bridgehouse Beck and Worth Valley Railway, almost to Oxenhope Station.

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Horses near Ives Bottom Farm.

This section of the walk wouldn’t normally take very long, but we found ourselves caught up in a Fell Race, and had to keep stopping and grabbing Hugo, making way for Fell Runner after Fell Runner. Talk about bad timing on our part! One poor runner nearly tripped over the dog! We were relieved when our paths finally divided and we crossed the railway.

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Railway Crossing.
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Perfect spot for lunch. πŸ™‚

We had packed some lunch and after our fraught run ins with the fell runners we decided to sit a while on a bench overlooking the railway line, watching a few straggling runners appear now and again. The race did remind me of the paper chase in the film though. πŸ™‚

After our impromptu picnic we carried on over the stile in the wall behind us and up the meadow where Bents House appears on the left. Better known as Three Chimneys, this is the Yorkshire home of The Railway Children. πŸ™‚

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Three Chimneys. The foliage obscuring it’s actual three chimneys.

By now it had started raining heavily, so we changed into our waterproofs after passing the stone gap stile which “Perks the Station master” has difficulty squeezing through, whilst delivering a basket hamper to Three Chimneys in the film.

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Stone Gap Stile.

The walk then took us to the hamlet of Hole after passing through a farmyard and a large field full of very frisky cows, who were a bit too interested in Hugo. After much shooing we managed to negotiate ourselves around the cattle and the mud. Even though I grew up on a farm and don’t usually mind walking through livestock, these ones were a bit lively, even for me! After this adventure we got a bit lost ( which does usually happen on our walks ;0) ), so we were very glad when the Railway Children Walk signs re-appeared, and we found ourselves walking the short way from Hole into Haworth, via Haworth Churchyard and the Bronte Parsonage Museum, the Doctor’s house in the film.

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Bronte Parsonage Museum is Doctor Forrest’s House.
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The Tourist Info Office was used in the film as the butchers shop.
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Haworth Main Street. In the film the children call in at various shops and houses in Haworth, collecting birthday gifts for Perks.

Various houses and shops in Haworth doubled up as locations in the film. We had a wander down the Main street and shared a ‘ Yorkshire Scallywag’ in the Bronte Boardwalk CafΓ©, before continuing with the walk.

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A Scallywag is a Yorkshire Scone. πŸ™‚

The next part of the walk took us to Oakworth Station, which is the railway station used in the film. We headed down Main Street , turning left opposite The Fleece Public House, crossed over the busy main road and walked down the cobblestones of Butt Lane ,before following a diagonal path over some playing fields onto Mytholmes Lane. We then ambled down hill and the route re-joined the footpath after a row of cottages on the right. The path follows the railway and in the winter when the views aren’t obscured by foilage, you can apparently get a better view of the embankment where the landslide was filmed and the children waved the girls red petticoats to warn the driver of the 11.29 train of the danger.

We then encountered some danger ourselves, when two curious ( and very mahoosive! ) horses came cantering up out of nowhere, as we were giving Hugo a drink from his portable water dish. The gigantic beasts probably thought food was on the menu, and chased us to the nearest stile. Presently we found ourselves walking down a main road toward the station , and noticed some unusual little houses painted into the wall.

Oakworth Station is an Edwardian Railway Station with a very olde worlde charm. We purchased a platform ticket for 50p and had a quick wander round. Much of the action in The Railway Children movie features on the platform and in the station rooms here.

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The platform.
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Picture postcard platform.

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The station even has a ladies waiting room, decked out as a perfect replica of the Edwardian one in the film. There are also Railway Children merchandise and mementos on display.

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Ladies Waiting Room.

Its a nice thought that you can actually sit in such a nostalgic lounge and wait for your train. I wonder if the fire is lit on cold winters days? I did spot a couple of burly British Rail workers in the station enjoying a tea break at a tea clothed table , complete with doilys and vintage China. πŸ™‚ Both steamers and diesel trains pass through Oakworth Station on a regular basis. πŸ™‚

We continued the walk, crossing over the level crossings and passing Station Cottage which is Mr Perks home in the film. We kept following the road past Vale Fold Cottages and crossed a stile onto the footpath which runs parallel to the railway line again.

Station Keepers Cottage.
Mytholmes Tunnel. In the paper chase scene , one of the grammar school boys gets stuck in the tunnel.
Another approaching Steamer. πŸ™‚

It was fun to see another Steam Train puffing its way towards us as we followed the footpath over a road and watched it chug under the bridge below us. We then walked up a main road again ( Ebor Lane) and back into Haworth.

I really enjoyed our Railway Children Walk despite the rain, run-ins with fell runners, frisky cows and hungry horses. ; )

Is this a walk that you would try?

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37 thoughts on “The Railway Children Walk.”

  1. I’d love to do this walk. I went on the trains in June and had a little mooch about in the stations. Oakworth is the prettiest and I love the Ladies’ waiting room. I got some lovely pictures of that too, but there were no costumes on display. And Haworth always looks so beautiful. I never get tired of looking at photos of the parsonage.

    1. I would definitely love to go on the steam train someday. The Ladies waiting room is such a lovely touch at Oakworth. And yes Haworth is always a pleasure to visit. Hoping to get there again this year and maybe do a walk to the BrontΓ« waterfall and Top Withins. X

  2. We have had walks like that – with added horse and cow jeopardy! A couple of times were quite hair raising and I would not like to repeat! Thanks for taking us on your walk πŸ™‚

  3. Is this a walk we would try? Oh, YES. My favourite county in the UK & of course where my dear hubby was born. I’ve read the book & still have a copy, seen the film (many years ago), have visited Bronte Parsonage & been on a steam train to Haworth back in 1991. Now I want to do the walk (sigh!). You’ve presented it brilliantly Shazza. Thank you & take care.

  4. I would definitely do this walk if I was in the area. I read a lot of E Nesbit when I was a kid and I liked the film – though Jenny Agutter and Sally Thomsett jarred a bit as being too old for their roles. I’m sure they could have found some genuine child actors!

    1. I know. Sally Thomsett was actually 20! But I did actually like her as Phyllis and the others too. I may look out for an E Nesbit book to read. I remember reading The Enchanted Castle as a child, so maybe I will keep an eye out for it. X

  5. How lovely to see, I lived in Keighley for a few years when I was at college , I had a Saturday job at Hawarth in a gift shop at the same time.
    Since moving over to Leeds we have not been there for years.
    I would love to do this walk, need to make a note of it. Lovely set of photos too.
    Amanda xx

  6. I would love to do this walk! I think I’d like to watch the film first though so I can spot locations and buildings!

    I love those painted bricks, what a great idea.

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