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Bronte Country: Haworth Moor and Top Withins

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Bronte Country: Haworth Moor and Top Withins
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 28 Jun 2015 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
West Yorkshire, Haworth
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Bronte Country: Haworth Moor and Top Withins
Length: 8 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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A 7.5 mile circular walk around the moorland to the west of Haworth in West Yorkshire. The Bronte Sisters wrote most of their novels whilst living at Haworth Parsonage, when their father was parson at the local church. The route takes in sections of the Bronte Way and Pennine Way, visiting the sisters’ moorland haunts including Bronte Bridge and Waterfall (where the sisters were said to take turns sitting and writing their first novels) and Top Withins (the ruined farmhouse reputedly the setting for the farmstead Wuthering Heights). Aside from the literary connections, you will be able to enjoy long stretches of high moorland which blooms into a bright purple in mid to late summer and is criss-crossed by pretty streams.

The route has several long and steady climbs and descents, plus one short steeper climb. The paths are a mixture of stone and flagstone moorland paths plus some unmade sections that can get muddy at times. Many sections are rocky and uneven so sturdy boots are recommended and the area is quite exposed so ensure you have warm clothing with you. You will need to negotiate a couple of kissing gates plus one squeeze stile and some stepping stones across a stream. You will be sharing the moorland paths with sheep for the majority of the route and with Highland Cattle (which seemed very relaxed when we passed through) for a short stretch, so take care with dogs. There are no toilet facilities or refreshments available on route, but there are plenty of places for a picnic. Approximate time 4 hours.

The village of Howarth is located in the Pennines, about 9 miles west of Bradford in West Yorkshire. The walk starts and finishes in the parking lay-bys on Cemetery Road, alongside the cemetery and on the northern edge of Penistone Hill Country Park. The post code BD22 8EN will take you to West Road. From here continue west and at the edge of the village fork left onto Cemetery Road (signed for the Penistone Hill car parks). You will find several parking lay-bys on the right-hand side of this road, park as close as you can to the cemetery entrance which is where the walk begins.

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Walk Sections

Start to Enfield Side Road
Start to Enfield Side Road

Start point: 53.831 lat, -1.9675 long
End point: 53.8247 lat, -1.9771 long

From the parking lay-bys on Cemetery Road, make your way to the vehicle entrance for the cemetery (which is at the western edge of the stone boundary wall). Standing on the road, facing the cemetery entrance and hillside, take the grass track (signed as a public path) at about 2 o’clock. The grass and stone track swings left up the hill, with the cemetery boundary wall across to the left.

Where the boundary wall ends you will come to a junction of paths. Turn right (at about 2 o’clock) on the stone path which winds across the moorland. At the T-junction turn right on a path which leads you to the right of the large stone mounds. Across to the right you will be able to see Lower Laithe Reservoir in the valley bottom.

Just after passing a couple of picnic benches, you will come to a junction marked with a fingerpost on the right. Turn right here on the path signed to Bronte Falls and Top Withins. You may notice that the signpost is also labelled in Japanese, a sure sign that you are in Bronte Country. This trail is a popular destination for Japanese tourists, many of whom are big fans of the Bronte Sisters’ novels.

Follow the narrow path down to the crossroads with a road. Cross over with care and go ahead on the footpath, passing a bench on the left. This next short stretch of moorland footpath leads you down to a junction with a stone track, Enfield Side Road.

Enfield Side Road to Bronte Bridge
Enfield Side Road to Bronte Bridge

Start point: 53.8247 lat, -1.9771 long
End point: 53.8188 lat, -2.0041 long

Turn left along the track and pass through the kissing gate (alongside a cattle grid). NOTE: From this point you will be sharing the moorland paths with sheep. Follow the stone track for some distance, passing Springs Farm and a ruined farmhouse along the way.

Further along the track narrows to a stone path, leads you across the centre of a section of moorland and heads down some rocky steps to reach Bronte Bridge. This is a popular destination so don’t expect to have the spot to yourself! It is often a hive of activity with people picnicking on the rocks and children and dogs paddling in South Dean Beck.

To the left you will see Bronte Waterfall although, unless you are visiting after heavy periods of rain, this is more likely to be a trickle of water over the rocks. There is a stone-shaped chair by the bridge, Bronte Chair in which (it is said) the sisters took turns to sit and write their first stories.

Bronte Bridge to Upper Heights
Bronte Bridge to Upper Heights

Start point: 53.8188 lat, -2.0041 long
End point: 53.8223 lat, -2.0109 long

Cross the bridge and then keep directly ahead on the path up the hill. Go through the kissing gate and you will come to a junction marked with a fingerpost. Take the left-hand branch and follow this flagstone path as it continues to climb. The path passes through a number of broken stone walls, running parallel to the beck down to the left and then with a stone wall running on the right.

You will come to a stone squeeze stile (NOTE: for this next short section you are likely to be sharing the path with Highland Cattle, which were very relaxed around the walkers and dogs when we passed through). Go through the stile and continue in the same direction with a broken wall running on the left.

The next kissing gate leads you into a section of open access moorland. Turn sharp right immediately after this gate to join the path which swings steadily left heading uphill with a stone wall on the right. At the corner of the wall, turn right staying on the path alongside the wall. After passing a gate and kissing gate on the right, the path becomes a wider grass track. Follow this, heading for the dense copse of trees ahead and then swinging steadily left with the copse across to the right.

When the copse of the trees ends and the main track swings right, keep straight ahead on the more subtle track to reach a fingerpost set in front of a farmhouse, Upper Heights.

Upper Heights to Top Withins
Upper Heights to Top Withins

Start point: 53.8223 lat, -2.0109 long
End point: 53.8148 lat, -2.0299 long

Turn left along the stone track, part of the Pennine Way, passing the farmhouse on your right. Follow this obvious stone track leading you across the top of the moorland, passing over a couple of tiny streams along the way.

In the distance ahead you may already be able to see the ruins of Top Withins, your next destination on this walk. The stone track becomes a flagstone vehicle track, climbing steadily to reach a junction marked with a fingerpost. Keep ahead for just a further 200m to reach the ruins of Top Withins.

Take time to explore the ruins. There are some benches if you wish to stop for refreshments here. This old farmhouse is said to have been the inspiration for the location of the Earnshaw family house Wuthering Heights in the novel of the same name by Emily Bronte. A plaque affixed to a wall reads: This farmhouse has been associated with Wuthering Heights, the Earnshaw home in Emily Bronte’s novel. The buildings, even when complete, bore no resemblance to the house she described, but the situation may have been in her mind when she wrote of the moorland setting of the Heights.

Top Withins to Harbour Lodge
Top Withins to Harbour Lodge

Start point: 53.8148 lat, -2.0299 long
End point: 53.8141 lat, -2.0077 long

When you’ve finished exploring the site, retrace your steps back the way you came for 200m to the fingerpost. Fork right on the path signed to Haworth. Follow this track heading steadily downhill and passing through the remains of an old stone wall. Continue down to the stepping stones and use these to cross the narrow stream.

Continue on the path and, about 80m further along, you will come to a waymarker post. Fork right here onto the more subtle grass footpath leading you downhill. The path crosses South Dean Beck via a pair of footbridges and then climbs up a rocky path at the far side.

Once up the steep slope, keep directly ahead on the narrow path along the moorland edge, with a steep valley down to Crumber Dike down to the right. This section of moorland is thick with heather which transforms into a blaze of purple flowers in mid to late summer.

Ignore the first small path to the left and eventually you will come to a junction of paths marked with a fingerpost (with the summit of Harbour Hill up to the left). Go directly ahead, signed to Haworth, and follow this ridge path which swings steadily left and then leads you along the left-hand side of a stone wall to pass by the property Harbour Lodge (on your right).

Harbour Lodge to Leeshaw Stone Wall
Harbour Lodge to Leeshaw Stone Wall

Start point: 53.8141 lat, -2.0077 long
End point: 53.8168 lat, -1.9841 long

Beyond the property walls you will come to a T-junction with a flagstone path, marked with a fingerpost. Turn right and follow the path over the footbridge and up the slope to reach the next signed junction.

Turn left to join the stone track signed to Haworth. You will have noticed that the paths on this side of the moorland are much quieter, a clear demonstration of the Bronte effect in drawing the crowds to the northern paths you used on the outward leg.

The track swings left and then right and continues ahead. Some way further along, look out for a waymarker post on the right. Fork right here to join a narrow moorland path which leads you down towards Leeshaw Reservoir. The path, which can get boggy in parts, leads you down to a stone wall, with Leeshaw Reservoir beyond.

Leeshaw Stone Wall to End
Leeshaw Stone Wall to End

Start point: 53.8168 lat, -1.9841 long
End point: 53.8311 lat, -1.9675 long

Turn left and follow the path with the stone wall running to the right. At the next junction, continue ahead, passing to the left of Drop Farm and joining its access drive. Follow this steadily down and towards the end cross the cattle grid (or use the gate alongside). A short distance later you will come to a T-junction with the road (with Westfield Lodges opposite).

Cross over the road with care and turn left along the grass verge. Continue up the hill for about 100m and then turn right onto the stone track signed as a public path, back into Penistone Hill Country Park. At the first fork keep left and then go straight ahead at the crossroads (a narrow path signed to the Moorside Car Park).

The path leads you past the picnic benches that you saw on your outward leg. From this point you will be re-tracing your steps back to the car park. To do this, keep ahead with Lower Laithe Reservoir down to the left and passing the large rocky mounds on your right. Take the first stone path on the left and follow it winding across the moor. You will come to a junction with the corner of the cemetery wall ahead. Turn left here (about 9 o’clock) onto the stone track running downhill with the cemetery wall running to the right. At the bottom you will emerge down to Cemetery Road, home to the parking lay-bys where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2015 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


2 responses to "Bronte Country: Haworth Moor and Top Withins"

Felicity Judge: First time using the app and loved it. Walked the Bronte country walk around Haworth and the moors. Looking forward to following more walks around Yorkshire and hopefully adding some...

By Facebook on 2016-08-15 13:54:11

Carole Naisby: Had a glorious sunny day yesterday to do the Bronte Country walk. We didn't meet any Highland cattle but we came across plenty of sheep. It was a great walk. Thanks to all concerned.

By Facebook on 2016-09-19 10:12:39

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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10 images to "Bronte Country: Haworth Moor and Top Withins"

4669_0Richard1435516089 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
This is the start of the walk with the cemetery on the left.
4669_1Richard1435516089 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
Bronte Bridge.
4669_3Richard1435516089 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
The Pennine Way.
4669_4Richard1435516089 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
The two wooden bridges you need to use to cross South Dean Beck.
4669_0felicityjudge1471190151 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: felicityjudge
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
s
4669_0felicityjudge1471190198 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: felicityjudge
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
B
4669_0felicityjudge1471190213 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: felicityjudge
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
p
4669_0MiniMum1474271565 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: MiniMum
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
The start of the walk
4669_0MiniMum1474271574-1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: MiniMum
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
Bronte Bridge.
4669_0MiniMum1474271581 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: MiniMum
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
View from Top Withens

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