Stanbury to Denholme Gate.
Once the car shuffles had been completed we set off to walk back up to the Pennine Way/Bronte Way. The PW continues up to the isolated Top Withins farmhouse, with its solitary tree visible from down here. There is no convincing evidence to support the claim that the farm was the ‘original’ Wuthering Heights, but if it is not, it is certainly the type of place that Emily Bronte had in mind when she wrote her famous novel. The picture below is from a previous visit. Our way today however branched off and headed into the valley of Staden Beck and down to Bronte Bridge, a stone clapper bridge across the beck. The water tumbles over a small series of rocks above and below the bridge. The area is somewhat optimistically known as Bronte Falls; it isn’t really a waterfall, but is a wonderfully picturesque spot and a popular area for picnics. The original stone bridge was swept away in a flash flood in 1989 and replaced the following year by the present bridge.
Signposts helped us onwards with addition of Japanese instructions reflecting their interest in the Bronte history. Signs kept coming thick and fast. The track took us out of the valley and over Penistone Hill heavily quarried in the past. Now a country park there are confusing paths everywhere, popular with dog walkers who all seemed to have Cocker Spaniels. We arrived into Haworth by the atmospheric graveyard, the Brontes are not buried here but have a crypt in the adjoining church. Above was the Parsonage where the sisters lived, now a museum. Bronte associations were everywhere. Below in the main street tourists flocked into the gift shops and cafes.
We of course were above such things, avoided hoards of Japanese and headed out on ancient tracks to Oxenholme. Here we found a bench for lunch which happened to overlook the Worth Valley railway line and in came a steam special hauled by a Standard Four locomotive, withdrawn for scrap from the Southern Railway in 1965 but subsequently restored.
Things went a little astray as we took to small lanes, too much time chatting and admiring both the scenery and the local properties. We found ourselves on a narrow lane a few hundred feet above where we should have been. I’d already remarked that we seemed to have missed most of Oxenholme, dammed right it was there below us. Fortunately a lovely path was found to reunite us with the correct way but we had enjoyed our diversion and had chance to meet one of the locals.
No sooner were we back on track when we seemed to go wrong again on small streets in the village and ended up on the wrong side of Leeming Reservoir. No problem, just walk across the damn access road. The hot afternoon drifted on and once more we found ourselves on old flagged paths going where? A hill was climbed past old enclosures and water catchment culverts to arrive at a fine belvedere. An opportunity for a breather, a snack and drink and time to admire the view over fine countryside. From here a good lane just under Thornton Reservoir made for easy walking. A cyclist stopped to show us his electric assisted bike with a multitude of gears, impressive until I realised I couldn’t lift the beast. We emerged from Black Edge Lane into Denholme Gate where a parked car was waiting for us.
Onwards looked more urban, a bus passed signed for Halifax so we’ve come a long way into Yorkshire. The last two days may be better reached by train and utilising overnight accomodation.