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.
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.
The past couple of weeks have made getting out a little interesting with a wild weather forecast, snow, floods, bugs and soggy leaves.
The first lot of snow (beautiful for a few hours!) had melted and we were keen to get out but my eldest came down with a sickness bug and I had some dizzy head cold that resulted in me spectacularly falling down the stairs. I’m laughing now as the moment it happened was just when as our shopping was being delivered so I had an audience! A few bruises saw us both feeling pathetic and we stayed in wrapped up watching films whilst Hubby worked the weekend.
Later in the week another dumping of snow thrown in between lots of rain our plan to go into the Dales with the kids was again put on the back burner. Seeing a break of the sleet and snow showers my Daughter asked to play outside blowing bubbles, in her fancy dress skirt, like you do!
We later visited the kids Grandparents and after wearing Grandad out playing football we went out for a small walk around their village.
Gone were the gorgeous autumnal leaves that invited you to kick through them, to be replaced with sad soggy clumps now blocking roads and drains. My Daughter still wanted to play with the leaves and with Grandma’s help we turned it into a game trying to find different leaves from different trees.
The hardest part of the game was trying to find any dry leaves but my Daughter had a lot of fun finding leaves that she could peek through. She’s better at identifying leaves than me now after her lesson with Grandma!
Since we went on our leaf hunt we’ve had a load more rain and there has been flooding in many areas of Yorkshire including outside my parents’ house. They were even out in dark with a neighbour desperately trying to clear the flooded road.
I’m crossing my fingers for a drier nicer weekend this weekend for everyone’s sake!
Our latest Hip2trek walking adventure was another visit to Malham but this time with a planned stop for hot chocolate and candy apples!
We visited marvellous Malham about seven months ago and loved the walk we went on, but with a bit more walking experience behind us and my hips being better we wanted to go back and try a bigger walk this time going to Malham Tarn.
The weather forecast wasn’t great so armed with hats, gloves and lots of layers we were prepared for a very chilly walk, and crikey it wasn’t wrong we were absolutely freezing.
Last time we had arrived in Malham the day after a popular TV programme had been aired and were met with hordes of people and an overflowing car park. This time we had our pick of parking spaces but Hubby was a bit miffed the contactless payment at the parking machine was a little eager and took his payment twice! We weren’t off to a great start.
We retraced our steps along familiar footpaths and through kissing gates to Janet’s Foss still looking spectacular in the autumn the water was crystal clear. We have this really silly tradition of when coming to a kissing gate as we go through you ‘mwah’ to the person behind you. Anyone else do silly things like this? No....Oh just us then that are a bit bonkers! My eldest was sulking at this point so didn’t really want to take part.
This time we didn’t visit Gordale Scar but took the path up the hill to the side of it and it was here last time that we had to take an easier path to cut the walk shorter due to my IT band problems. I was determined that this massive hill wouldn’t get the better of me and it would be a good test of my newly improved leg strength. The wind was so strong but we were well wrapped up and although we had a few stops on the way up we made it to the top. My eldest is like a mountain goat and was waiting for us at the top.
From there we followed an obvious footpath which would eventually lead us to Malham tarn. We were walking right into the wind and I had tears streaming down my face and my youngest kept asking why were we doing this walk! We had promised that we would have hot chocolates as soon as we got back to the village and that kept us going. The scenery was lovely even though it was bitterly cold, and we could see the tarn in the distance.
From the tarn we followed a footpath which would take us through a very narrow gully and rocky limestone terrain. We knew the cove was about half a mile away but it felt like miles as we picked our way across the rocks. It was quite hard but the reward was a blast of sunshine and gleaming in the distance was the limestone pavements of Malham Cove.
My Daughter last time had been terrified of the limestone pavement but this time she was so much more confident and we stopped and had a quick picnic on a natural bench like rock!
We were so much quicker down the steep steps, me and my Son quite a bit in front and all the way down in the distance we could hear my Daughter chattering away. These steps are as close as I’m going to get to the ones I’ll meet in China so great training for my legs. Happily, my IT band had remained quiet and there was no pain or niggles, phew.
I thought we still deserved hot chocolate so we made our way to The Buck Inn and we had hot chocolate, candy apples (well it was bonfire night!) and a warm by the fire.
A great walk with lots of steep hills, I finally saw Malham tarn and there was a lovely treat at the end.
Do you play any silly games on your walks? Or do you have a walk you think we should try?
All views are my own and I’ve received no incentive to write this.
I'm a 'thirty something' Yorkshire Mum of two, recovering from two hip arthroscopies and hoping to get fit for a new challenge. My aim is to also get my kids out into the countryside and get fitter as a family. Follow my blog about hips, trips, training and getting my kids outside!
I'm taking part in a charity China trek. For my story or to sponsor me please follow the Just Giving link.