Brontë Country can loosely be defined as the area containing the majestic landscapes and quiet Yorkshire villages which inspired the talented Brontë family. The windswept Brontë Moors and stone and slate hillside villages were known and loved by Emily, Anne, Charlotte, Branwell and Patrick. They were the basis, together with the people they met, for the settings and characters of the sombre novels, ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Jane Eyre’.
Haworth was associated with the Brontë’s sad life for forty-one years, from 1820 when the family arrived, until the death of their father, Patrick Brontë, the Parson, in 1861. Wycoller Hall, Ponden Hall and Top Withens, are all within walking distance of Haworth, across the wuthering (locally meaning “stormy”) moors.
To a visitor, the Brontë story can seem very recent and on a gloomy day, with tourists gone, their presence can be strongly felt.
Top Withens, Haworth Moor
Set high on the windswept heather covered Yorkshire moorlands, the ruins of Top Withens both inspire and depress. Believed by many to be the setting for Emily Brontë’s ‘Wuthering Heights’, the abandoned farm evokes the atmosphere of the Brontë sisters’ novels. Here, a mere three miles from the hill-top village of Haworth, sombre isolation can be found in these wild, brooding moorlands. The Brontë sisters loved to roam these beautiful moors.
Charlotte wrote of her sister, Emily, ‘They were far more to her than a mere spectacle; they were what she lived in and by …. She found in the bleak solitude many and dear delights; and not the least and best loved was – liberty.’
The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway
At the bottom of Haworth village lies The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, a five mile branch line known as “The Railway Childrens’ Railway”. This was used as the location for the 1970s classic film, ‘The Railway Children’, starring Jenny Agutter, Bernard Cribbins, Dinah Sheridan and Sally Thomsett. Oakworth Station was the main station featured in the film. Five of the carriages used can now be viewed at the Museum of Rail Travel at Ingrow, in the Worth Valley.