Paddy Brunty would no doubt have given me an old-fashioned look for calling him by that name, thought I while striding out on the heather moors above Haworth last week. I wonder why Irish Patrick changed his name to Brontë – was it an early piece of marketing by this man of letters who spawned those talented young writers? I was walking the Brontë Way via Brontë Bridge, by Brontë Falls with its Brontë Seat, and on to Top Withens with its flimsy Brontë connection. Brontëland is another marketing creation this time by Bradford Metropolitan Council… if ol’ Paddy was around today he’d probably change his name back again… Brontë is far too common now. I do enjoy these moors though; the sombre Pennines butt up against the greenery created by centuries of hard graft by smallholders who have staked their claim on the land. Sadly I passed too many derelict farms along my short journey, the ultimate ruin of course being Top Withens itself. Perched in a desolate spot some 1,400 feet above sea level maybe a farming venture on these windswept acres was always doomed for failure? And I wonder what the original working class owner of this old farm would have thought about the number of well-read visitors trekking up the valley just to pay homage to his dilapidated building – or the nearby signpost which points the way in Japanese? Anyway, it was back down the Pennine Way for me… and a pint of Brontë Bitter at the Wuthering Heights pub.

Look out for this walk in January’s issue of Dalesman. Photo shows the view from Top Withens.

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  1. Paul Booth

    Thanks to the Editor of the Dalesman for once again a splendid photo. This time the moors beneath Top Withens above Haworth. A timely reminder as I have spent Christmas in Haworth many times. A few years ago The Daily Telegraph in a Christmas special said Haworth was ranked in the top 50 places on the planet to stay in the winter holiday season. Well I won’t disagree. To travel up to Haworth on the Worth Valley steam train is a delight — and the first view of the main street festooned with Christmas trees and fairy lights is truly breathtaking. Plus a pint next to the log fire in the Fleece is sheer bliss. Some of the new ‘locals’ are bit of a pain as is the ‘sophisticated’ food in the would-be trendy restaurants in the main street. But nevertheless I shall miss a slice of Yorkshire that is unbeatable. Merry Christmas to all readers of the Dalesman.


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