Brontes of Haworth
Top Withens farmhouse on Haworth Moor
Walking to 'Wuthering Heights'!
Well, the jury may still be still out as to whether Top Withens farmhouse, high on Haworth Moor, was the original for Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights but why not go and see for yourself, passing the Bronte Waterfalls and Bridge along the way.
There are no real grounds for believing that Emily Bronte had Top Withens in mind when she wrote her passionate novel but the old farmhouse, long in ruins, provides the perfect focus for a walk from Haworth. Imagine, if you will, the ghosts of Cathy and Heathcliff calling out to each other. However, you'll be lucky to be alone up there as today it's a popular destination for walkers and tourists. Spot the footpath signs - they come with a Japanese translation!
The starting point is the car park at the Penistone Hill Country Park on Moorside Lane, an unclassified road between Stanbury and Oxenhope. Take the main track from the car park and cross the road to a sign advertising a tea room at Drop Farm (phone for opening times) . A footpath sign indicates the way past Drop Farm to Top Withens and the waterfalls.
Footpath signs with a difference!
In about half-a-mile the signed way leaves the path alongside the wall and crosses the open moorland to join a rough road. Turn left and follow this to Harbour Lodge. At Harbour Lodge be sure to follow the sign to Top Withens; the path, which can be boggy, leads down to Crumber Dike where it is necessary to cross a narrow brook. The path soon joins the Brontë Way and immediately crosses a wider but shallow beck by flat stepping stones.
Follow the path up the hill to the ruins of Top Withens and to the Pennine Way.
A Brontë Society plaque on what is left of the building informs us that Emily would have known of this house but that it bore little resemblance to the Wuthering Heights of the novel. Cold winds blow up here but there is a picnic table!
Follow the Brontë Way and signs to the falls. After the moorland the path crosses some fields. You will see a wooden gate on your right. Continue to follow the signs to the waterfalls though this gate.
The Bronte waterfall
The path goes down across some rocky ground to the Brontë Bridge and the falls. A favourite haunt of the sisters, the waterfalls are only impressive after a heavy downpour. Cross the bridge (a replacement for the one the Brontes knew, swept away by heavy rain) and turn left past the waterfall. The path gradually climbs up and it is an easy walk back to the road. Turn right to return to the car park.
Drop Farm and after the walk at Stanbury, Haworth, Oxenhope.
Time: 3 hours (3.5 from Haworth)
OS Map: Leisure Map 21 - South Pennines [1: 25000] Starting point: Penistone Hill car park
Safety on the moors:
Weather conditions may change quickly. Wearing strong footwear is essential. Always take weatherproof clothing with you. It is also recommended that you take some food and drink with you and let someone know the route you are taking and the time you expect to arrive back.
last updated: 24/04/2008 at 15:38