Sunday mornings unpromising weather predictions didn’t put us off our intended trip to Haworth. Our plan was to take a walk from the town, over the surrounding moorland to Top Withens . The wild location of the ruined farmhouse is thought to be where Emily Bronte pictured ‘ Wuthering Heights ‘ in her novel.
We put Hugo in the back of the car, picked up my sister and niece and made our way to Yorkshire, wind screen wipers on the go. Amazingly the rain seemed to clear up once we arrived in Haworth. A walk over Haworth Moor was still on the cards.
Raincoats on, we set off from the Brontë Village Car Park, and would you know it within five minutes, the weather could definitely be described as wuthering! We were blown past the ‘Literary Landscape Sculptures’ two sets of five stone books peering up from the heath. The sweeping rain prevented me from getting any photos. At this point we decided to only walk as far as the Brontë waterfalls, and save Top Withens for another day.
The Brontë Waterfalls lie some 2•5 miles over the moor. A well trodden path leads all the way there and is clearly signposted too, surprisingly in Japanese as well as English. Described by Charlotte Brontë as ‘ a perfect torrent racing over the rocks, white and beautiful’ the falls on Sunday were definitely more of a trickle than a torrent. However the setting is lovely, even on a dreich December day. As yet,shades of copper bracken add colour to the rugged scenery and a babbling beck gives drama to the landscape. You can see why the Brontë siblings enjoyed walking here.
Below the falls a stone footbridge known as the Brontë Bridge crosses the stream and the path continues onwards towards Top Withens. We posed in the rain for a quick selfie and were soon joined by a group of hardy ramblers who chose this glorious spot for a lunch break. It was amazing how many other walkers we had seen along the way, despite the dreary weather. Our tummy’s rumbling and feeling rather like drowned rats, we decided to retrace our steps back to Haworth, where the promise of a hot meal somewhere warm and dry beckoned.
Haworth is definitely somewhere that feels incredibly festive at this time of year. After warming up in a welcoming ( and dog friendly) cafe on Main Street called The Cook House, we went for a wander along the cobbles, listened to Christmas carols, visited some lovely independent shops and found a bustling Christmas market in Central Park.
I’m sure we will return in the Spring, for another stride over the Moors, in the footsteps of the Bronte’s.
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. 🙂
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 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:)
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.
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.
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. 🙂
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. 🙂
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.
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.
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 Café, before continuing with the walk.
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.
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.
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. 🙂 Both steamers and diesel trains pass through Oakworth Station on a regular basis. 🙂
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.
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. ; )
Here I am snug as a bug in a rug. The radiators are piping hot , I have numerous throws to wrap round myself and two fur babies to snuggle up with. Bliss !
Friday night though was spent ( mostly shivering!) In a little B&B in the Yorkshire town of Haworth. I won’t say it was our accomodations fault. I couldn’t properly get warm anywhere at all. I think Yorkshire folk must be alot hardier than us Lancashire lot. The heating was on everywhere but didn’t seem to make much of a difference. I layered myself up and was tempted to keep my coat and hat on….even in bed. I have turned into a right softy!
Wil and I ( minus the pets) stopped over in Haworth as we were attending a talk in nearby Keighley by the Arctic adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes. It certainly seemed touch and go whether the event would take place. But of course ‘ the world’s greatest living explorer’ was easily up to the challenge of travelling from Exmoor to bleakest Yorkshire, whatever the conditions. 🙂
Despite my whinging, we did have a lovely time. The snow gave the cobbled streets of Haworth a wintery charm. The town is of course, famed for being the home of an extraordinary literary family, the Bronte’s. Writers Charlotte, Emily and Anne lived in the parsonage with their father the Reverend Bronte and brother Branwell. We had the Bronte Parsonage Museum all to ourselves on Saturday morning. Photography is no longer prohibited inside the museum,so I took a few pictures and imagined the Bronte siblings sitting at the dining room table, scribbling away. How frozen must their fingers have felt in the perishing south pennine winters.
We ended our visit to Haworth with a winter warming lunch in The Hawthorn on Main Street, whilst browsing our purchases. I bought ‘The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne by Catherine Reef ( Can’t wait to start it! ) and Wil had purchased a signed copy of Ranulph Fiennes appropriately titled ‘Cold’, the evening before.
In the past when Wil and I have driven to the Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge, we have arrived there completely frazzled, because our old sat nav loves magical mystery tours. Or we just couldn’t find the place at all! Happily on Saturday the Gods did not conspire against us, and we pulled up in a sunshiney Hebden before ten in the morning.
Hebden Bridge is a market town in Calderdale. , famed for its independent stores and creative community . Artisan shops and pavement cafes adorn the cobbles and Victorian terraces cling to the steep hillsides. On a bright September morning, it really did look like we had arrived in the ‘Happy Valley’.
As we were accompanied by a certain ‘ hungry black labrador’ , I suggested we stop by at The Lamppost Cafe for coffee and flapjacks for us…and a pup cake for him. On the Lampposts facebook page it says ‘Because every dog deserves to feel special and be treated so! Don’t tie your best friend to a lamppost, bring them in The Lamppost!’
Hugo and new friend ‘Lucky’.
Waiting for a Pup Cake.
Help yourself to water for your doog.
We loved the rustic decor in this very dog friendly cafe, and it was fun choosing Hugo a mouthwatering muffin from their impressive pup cake collection. It’s a pity he wolfed it down before I could get a picture ! His new friend Lucky was most happy to pose though. Isn’t she adorable. 🙂 Lucky is sat on a hessian coffee sack , which you can help yourself to, if your dog doesn’t want to lie on the wooden floor. I really enjoyed my fruity flapjack and the coffee was good too.
After a wander round the shops and the market ( I found a lady who makes felt fairy lamps ~ Christmas present sorted for one goddaughter! ), we had lunch at Green’s ( a veggie cafe) and then went for a walk by the canal.
We headed in the direction of Hebden Bridge’s neighbor Mytholmroyd, where poet Ted Hughes was born. Along the way there were were many barge businesses and floating homes.
On the outskirts of Hebden Bridge a rust coloured sculpture of a hawk, roosts in memorial to the Yorkshire born poet. I’m not sure it looks hawk-like enough. What do you think? Hughes first wife writer ‘ Sylvia Plath’ is buried in the churchyard at nearby Heptonstall.
Mid afternoon and Hebden Bridge was crazy busy , so we left the town and headed for nearby Haworth, another Yorkshire parish with famed literary connections. But first we stopped off for a walk on the rolling moorland above Oxenhope. Hugo decided to leap onto this wall and nearly ended up in the steep ravine below, tangled with the purple heather and brambles. Luckily he decided that running amongst the rushes was just as much fun!
Beautiful Haworth is still so evocative of its famous residents, the Brontes. Surrounded by wild moor land , Haworth’s cobbled streets are brimming with old fashioned shops and is little changed from the days when Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell lived with their father in the parsonage , now a museum.
I love the cute shops in Haworth and make no apologies for buying a couple more Christmas gifts. I just couldn’t resist and ‘ Wave of Nostalgia ‘ especially, really drew me in.
There are lots of Tea shops on the cobbled main street, but Wil can certainly recommend the Jamaican Peaberry Coffee from 10 the coffee house, where all coffees are freshly ground to order. As you can see the African Lime cake we shared is tiny! But I’m kind of glad, as it has been my only cheat in a fortnight of abstaining from cake, pastry, crisps , bread and chocolate …..so far. 😉
It’s been a few years since I have wandered round the wonderful Bronte Museum, and on this visit I contented myself with a stroll in the garden and a quick glance in the museum shop.
I’ve already decided that I would like to return soon and follow in the footsteps of the Bronte’s ,up onto the South Pennine Moors, via the path that passes the parsonage. Watch this space. 🙂
Today we spent a couple of hours walking round the cobbled streets of Haworth. I love visiting though its been a couple of years. On previous occasions it has usually been very bleak and windy up there but today the sun was shining. I actually managed to persuade the other half to take a tour of the parsonage with me. 🙂 The parsonage was of course the home of the Bronte family for many years. As children Charlotte, Emily, Anne and their brother Branwell lived, played, drew,wrote and wandered the moors here.
Before the tour we had a wander round. There are some deliciously old’e world’y shops along the cobbled main street. Lotions and potions galore ( and beautiful vintage inspired tea dresses too ) in Rose & Co Apothecary and old fashioned toffees in Mrs Beightons Sweet Shop. 🙂 There are even a couple of vintage shops but unfortunately they were shut today. I pressed my nose to the glass with longing when I spied some beautiful teacups in the window of Kate’s Curiosities. sigh….
We also stopped for some lunch at Gascoigne’s Steam Brewing Company Cafe, Bar and Bistro. This is a micro brewery with its own bar and serves yummy grub too. I tried their speciality Pork Pie in mushy peas with mint sauce. Winter warming nosh !
Before we went into the museum we had a little walk round the grave yard. The Bronte family themselves are all buried in the crypt ( except Anne who is buried in Scarbrough, where she died ) so there were no Bronte headstones. A rather large furry cat was prowling the cemetery and he was quite a character. Sorry i couldn’t resist taking photo’s. I decided to call him Heathcliffe !
It costs £7 to look round the Bronte museum in the Parsonage which I thought was well worth it as the ticket is actually valid for twelve months. You can reuse it within that time span as much as you like. Until 12th January there is actually a rather quirky exhibition on ( see photo above ) at the Museum. ‘Capturing The Brontes’ by Charlotte Cory is a fun and what she calls ‘Vistorian ‘ way of looking at the literary families lives in Haworth. Charlotte combines the use of vintage victorian calling cards and portraits of stuffed animals. Crazily kooky oil paintings of various ladies and gents superimposed with duck and fox heads are dotted round the various rooms and a giant stuffed giraffe graces the study. Apparently the Queen owns a Cory image of a Queen Corgi ! The exhibition continues at the Long and Ryle Gallery in London through February. Here is a very sneaky peek in Mr Brontes room. Feel a bit naughty as your not supposed to take photographs.
Getting away from the Vistoriana exhibition ,the museum is set out with lots of information about all the Bronte family and plenty of exhibits including a dress worn by Charlotte Bronte and water colours they painted and manuscripts they wrote. I loved reading about their pets. Emily’s beloved dog ‘Keeper’ pined for her years after her death.He was quite famous himself long before Greyfriar’s Bobby.
Here are a few more pictures taken in the grounds of the Parsonage. It was really such an honor to walk round the home of the authors of such masterpieces as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey. 🙂
Before we left Haworth I had a hankering for baked goods so we indulged in spicy apple cake at the Cobble and Clay tearooms. :0)
There’s all sorts going on in Haworth on the weekends running up to Christmas I noticed including a Victorian Christmas market ( 16th & 17th Nov), Steampunk Weekend ( 23rd &24th Nov) and Victorian weekend ( 7th & 8th Dec ) and lots more. Makes me want to visit all over again. 🙂
This is my diary of the wildlife where I live in Oxfordshire, and sometimes the places I visit. I am a 15 year old young naturalist with a passion for British wildlife, especially Badgers and Hares. I have been blogging since May 2013 and you can read my old blog posts at www.appletonwildlifediary.blogspot.co.uk