Bailiff Bridge to Oakwell Hall.
The final day of our walk on the Bronte Way. By more good luck than management there was a bus stop outside the hotel to take us back to Bailiff Bridge. After some steep uphill road and lane walking we were once more in amazing rural areas. We had joined The Kirklees Way and a Brighouse Boundary Walk. There were some vicious dogs penned up in some of the properties we passed some on a running chain which is quite scary as they charge at you. We postulated what could happen if the chain snapped!
Some time was passed in a large pristine golf course, there’s always one on any long distance walk. Fortunately no fairways had to be crossed on this one. After crossing a motorway, M62, little lanes led into Liversedge where first we came across a quaker grave yard. Way back a man, who was a Quaker, had been refused a burial at Hartshead church, so he bought a piece of land for burials of his family. This is still being used today and there are four 17th century graves. It was on Hartshead Common that Luddites congregated in early 19th century to march on Arkwright’s Mill at Rawfolds with disastrous results. Could something similar happen in the future as robots take over workers jobs? We are also sharing The Luddite Trail now, oh and did I mention The Spen Valley Trail. there must be a lot of keen walkers hereabouts.
A little further was a plant hire depot with some interesting old tractors, two looked as though they had come straight off the American prairie. And another aggressive guard dog going nuts as we stopped to take pictures.
We were now in the Spen Valley area which was the backdrop to Charlotte’s novel Shirley enacted at the time of the Luddites. This novel sounds interesting and will get a copy for holiday reading. On our route was a farm cafe which turned out to be an excellent stop for coffee and toasted tea cakes. The waitress was interested in our route and was clearly enthusiastic about Oakwell Hall. On leaving the cafe we spotted the resident cat waiting patiently on the back step.
Up the road was an old house, Clough House, bearing a plaque to the Rev. Patrick Bronte who lived here before moving to Thornton.
Some rather messy navigating through lanes and parks, all very rural though, brought us into the honest looking Shirley Estate, Gomersal. We wandered into the local church bazar hoping to find an old copy of The Bronte Way guidebook. On mentioning we were on the Bronte Way we were escorted to the grave of Mary Taylor a lifelong friend of Charlotte. Mary apparently was a Women’s Rights advocate who incidentally led a women’s group to climb Mont Blanc in 1875.
Open fields should have led us down to an entrance to Orwell Hall but probably distracted by females we took the wrong field. All was not lost and I think we had a better way into the grounds of this beautiful and obviously popular property. Oakwell Hall may have been the inspiration for ‘Fieldhead’ in Charlotte’s novel Shirley. This is the last of our Bronte associations but I wonder how many we have missed. We came out on the way we should have gone in, a far inferior way. A bus stop was on the main road and eventually a bus full of friendly locals delivered us to the efficient Bradford Interchange.
The end to a really varied and interesting five days of walking. Sir Hugh’s new knee just about stood up to the whole trial. We’ve seen a lot and learnt a lot.
What a good walk that has been. I am impressed with your brave photo of the dog if it is the same one of several that I remember, I was making a hasty retreat to get myself the other side of a nearby gate.
… and I thought you were right next to me.
Thanks for taking us along the walk. Been a good read!
Glad you liked it. We had a great time.
Very enjoyable set of posts! Had a giggle at the thought of you being distracted by females 🙂 I read Shirley many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I find Jane Eyre quite bizarre!
Yes yet another great little walk with lots of interest.
Just ordered ‘Shirley’ which should be good for holiday reading.
My son has just been to see Jane Eyre the Ballet at The Lowry, that would be bizarre.
My copy of Shirley has just arrived.
I love the first few lines – “Of late years an abundant shower of curates has fallen upon the North of England: they lie very thick on the hills;”
Should be a good read.
I got my copy of Shirley off the bookshelf the other night, re-read the first few pages and remembered why I enjoyed it years ago. I must read it again soon!
Glad I maybe inspired you.