Hunting for Heathcliff and a frosty walk to the Bronte Waterfall

I’ve lived in Yorkshire all my life, but I’m ashamed to say I’ve never walked on the Haworth moors made famous by the Bronte sisters. With a dry weather forecast we set off in search of Heathcliff with a walk to the Bronte Waterfall and Top Withens, the ruin that may have been the inspiration for Emily Bronte’s book ‘Wuthering Heights’.
After hideous weather during the week we were all wrapped up and eager to get outside into the fresh air. It was really chilly and this was our first walk with frost and ice puddles. The kids loved the ice on top of the puddles and loved the satisfying crunch they got as they walked across them.
We started the walk on a quiet road that eventually led to a footpath and once we had reached it the kids were able to run ahead and play their puddle game, trying to get there before the other so they could be the first to ‘crunch’ the ice. With it being cold we had picked up a good pace and after a mile and a half were nearly at the Bronte Waterfall. As we had made our way down some rocky steps we heard some birds chattering and Hubby spotted them across from where we were walking. I only caught a glimpse and we think they might have been Merlin’s but they flew off before either of us got a camera out or a good look.
The waterfall wasn’t as spectacular as I had imagined so we quickly posed for a few photos and then walked across the small footbridge. After a steep climb we found a fingerpost pointing us to Top Withens, not only written in English but with a Japanese translation too due to the popularity of tourists visiting.
With the sun out the landscape was quite beautiful although I could imagine on a windy, overcast or rainy day it could be quite exposed and bleak. We were all by now quite warm with all our layers on and the path had been narrow and winding and then we came across some stepping stones over a small stream before, finally a big hill up to Top Withens.
Top Withens is a ruined building and we found the plaque that says itself that this farmhouse ‘may’ have inspired part of Emily’s book ‘Wuthering Heights’. We had a good wander around and a rest on one of the benches.
We had explained to the kids about the Bronte sisters and a summary of the book ‘Wuthering Heights’, the character Heathcliff and about Kate Bush’s song ‘Wuthering Heights’. My Son at 8 years old has raided Daddy’s old tape collection so has already listened to quite a bit of Kate Bush! I had annoyed everyone all morning singing it although I was about three when the song first came out. I’d shown the kids the music video that morning and me and my son did a quick re-enactment whilst we were up there!!
Retracing our steps, we headed back down the hill until a fork in the footpath and this time we headed straight on across the moor until eventually we came to a small village called Stanbury. We passed a few pubs and well it seemed kind of rude not to stop and have a little drink!
The sign outside the Wuthering Heights said that walkers and well behaved dogs were welcome, nothing about unruly cheeky walking children but we chanced it and were welcomed inside.
A pint and some of the best onion rings later, we left and continued on our walk and I was thrilled that it led us across the reservoir dam that looked spectacular with the sunshine glistening on it.  I wish we could have stopped and got some better photos but it was very narrow with just enough room for cars to pass each other carefully.

Picture

From here we took a left turn down a bridleway and eventually joined the start of our walk. We had really enjoyed our adventure, walking just over 6.5 miles and had found it not to be at all Wuthering, but still and sunny. No sign of Heathcliff either, but if I was him I’d be back at the pub!
All views are my own and I have received no incentive to write this. We parked for free in a lay-by by the side of the road near Cemetery Road, Haworth. There are lots of guides for this walk on the internet and it is well sign posted but we used a route from The Happy Hiker website.
Have you got a route you think we should try? Comment below and let me know or pop over to my Facebook page and say hi.
#YorkshireFamily with Yorkshire Tots
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16 comments Add yours
  1. I love Haworth but we’ve never been for a proper walk there. I think this is properly on our to-do list now although we may wait until warmer weather! You got some very cool photos of the frost though! Thanks for linking up with #YorkshireFamily

  2. What a wonderful route to take tracing the footpath of history. I was surprised to hear of the signposts with a Japanese translation, but lovely to think they have bought into some of our history and authors so much. It looks like a wonderful day for your hike and some breathtaking scenery all along. I love how it was helped by a pub stop or two, the best sort of country walk!
    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

    1. Thank you for your comments Fiona, I’ve enjoyed linking up with #CountryKids. I was really surprised to see the sign posts with the Japanese translations, makes me wonder if there are any more across the country. I’ll have to see if I come across any more!

  3. What a wonderful walk, I’d love to do this sometime. Always lovely to see the areas that authors gained inspiration for their novels

    1. It’s a great walk if the weather is nice, hope you get a chance to go. I’m a real bookworm so Scotland is now on my list having being inspired reading Diana Galbaldon’s Outlander books!

  4. looks like a perfect day out! Some lovely photos of your family in the beautiful landscape. I think it’s great how engaged your kids where in learning a bit about the history of the place and the Bronte Bronte sisters. Thanks for sharing x #countrykids

  5. What a beautiful place for a nice long walk. I love the photo of the reservoir dam. Wuthering Heights is one of my favourite books but I’ve never had the chance to go for a walk on the Haworth moors and see the scenery that inspired it. #countrykids

  6. What a beautiful walk. I’ve holidayed in Yorkshire a couple of times but never really explored it much as the children were tiny. Hopefully we’ll head up there again one day. #countrykids

  7. Oh wow that sounds incredible. I am a fan of the Bronte sisters books (my favourite is Jane Eyre though), and I am from Yorkshire though we no longer live there – and I have never been either! I must remedy this the next time we are over that way! #CountryKids

    1. Thanks for reading Jenni. Haworth is worth a visit even if you’re not going for a big walk. Hope you can get back over to explore!

  8. How beautiful that you have a walking tradition with your family. I don’t think there is anything better than being outside in the fresh air, and we are spoilt for choice in Yorkshire! x

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