A walk through Bronte country

On Tuesday we met our friend Ruth and she gave us a lift to Haworth where we went for a walk on the moors. Our destination was Top Withens, the location of which provided Emily Bronte with the inspiration for the Earnshaw house in Wuthering Heights. It’s a place of ‘pilgrimage’ for Bronte fans world wide and looks down over some spectacular moorland scenery.

I’m afraid we cheated a tad when we set out for our circular walk. Instead of starting off in the middle of Haworth, we drove up the hill and parked up in Penistone Hill Country Park. I know it’s childish but I can’t help giggling at the name!


You’re already quite high up here and the views are good right from the start.


It’s a short walk to the Bronte Bridge and Waterfall. Not particularly spectacular at this time of year but there again, if the waterfall was spectacular it’d probably be bucketing down.


 This was as far as we got when I attempted this walk, with a friend, many years ago. The weather really deteriorated and we were forced to retreat. It’s very spooky on the moor in the mist and rain and not very safe – specially when you don’t really know what you’re doing. I’ve wanted to complete the walk to Top Withens ever since and this was my chance.

You don’t have to trek much further before you get to this sign (in Japanese as well as English) that says you’ve only got a mile to go. DON’T BELIEVE IT!

Japanese Sign

After walking what felt at least a mile, we got this view of our destination.


Yp, it’s that little dot on the horizon. From now on I won’t be using the phrase ‘Irish mile’ any more – it’ll always be ‘Top Withens mile’ to me. Still, it was a lovely day for walking and the scenery was spectacular, so I was happy. We were accompanied all the way by the sight and sound of grouse which created wonderful background atmosphere.


It’s hard to imagine why, in the middle of all this wild and beautiful scenery, someone was driven to write this on a post.


After another half hour’s walk, the farmhouse appeared a little bigger.


By the time we reached the next signpost, again translated into Japanese, we were nearly there….


….only the last section up the path to go…..


….and we’ve arrived!


Part of the farmhouse has been made weatherproof and turned into a poor weather shelter for walkers.


It’s a wonderful spot to stop for a spot of lunch while taking in the view.



We waited until these four ladies had finished before sitting down to have our own flask of tea and the last pieces of Ruth’s lovely apple cake.

There are a couple of ways back to Haworth from here – we chose the path across the moors, around Harbour Hill and past the wonderfully isolated Harbour Lodge. I wonder how often they get cut off in the winter?


Top Withens stayed in view for a fair while before we dropped back down to the car park and made our way into Haworth for lunch…..


….followed by a visit to the Bronte Parsonage Museum to complete our Bronte experience.


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