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24 September 2014
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Top Withens (aka Wuthering Heights)
Top Withens farmhouse

Top Withens: Ruined but 'historic'

This is a circular walk from Penistone Hill to the ruins of Top Withens farmhouse, popularly thought to be the location for Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, returning past the Bronte Waterfalls and Bridge.
Welcome to Haworth

Haworth village

Yorkshire Tourist Board

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How to get to Haworth

Road: Haworth is situated just above the A6033 Hebden Bridge road. The A6033 leaves the A629 Halifax to Keighley road, just south of Keighley. There are several car parks in the vilage.

Rail: Trains from Keighley.

Bus: Frequent buses from Keighley and an hourly bus to Bradford.

OS Map: Leisure Map 21 - South Pennines [1: 25000] Starting point: Penistone Hill car park


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.
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3 hours [3.5 from Haworth]
About 6 miles / 9 kilometres.
Easy. Boots advised for bog-trotting.

Start: From 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. A footpath sign indicates the way past Drop Farm to Top Withens and the waterfalls. Follow the signs all the way to Top Withens.

Bronteway sign in English and Japanese
The footpath signs on the Bronteway are also in Japanese

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 isnecessary 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.

The Bronte waterfall
The Bronte waterfall

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 and you are unlikely to be alone here whatever the weather!

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 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 heavy rain. Cross the bridge (a replacement for the one the Brontes knew, swept away by heavy rain) and turn left pass 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.

Refreshments: Drop Farm and after the walk at Stanbury, Haworth, Oxenhope.

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