7 reasons to love Haworth
- Credit: Joan Russell
There is a strong sense of the past in this Pennine village and not necessarily because of its Bronte connections
Haworth Station is the headquarters of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway and is a must-visit tourist destination, not just because the film The Railway Children had the railway as its backdrop (most of the filming took place at nearby Oakworth) but simply because of the excellent work that is carried out preserving the line and its locomotives. Steam fans flock here. Haworth yard next to the railway station in the village is where most of the preservation railway’s restoration work is carried out on the locomotives. Meet the volunteers who work there and fully appreciate just what they have achieved. Check out the railway line’s website for information about the many events that take place at the railway, kwvr.co.uk
Haworth Parish Church
The church cannot escape its link with the Bronte sisters and perhaps wouldn’t want to as it continues to work to restore and repair the building. Literature fans from all over the world make the pilgrimage to St Michael and All Angels where the Rev Patrick Bronte was vicar and where his children writers Charlotte, Emily and Anne worshipped along with his only son Branwell. Anne is the only member of the Bronte family not buried in a tomb beneath the church. Her grave is in St Mary’s churchyard, Castlehill, Scarborough. Haworth Parish Church as the Brontes knew it was mostly demolished after Patrick Bronte’s death in 1861. He outlived his wife and all his children.
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It’s here the Bronte family made their home and where Charlotte, Anne and Emily wrote most of their work including Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Today the Parsonage is a museum maintained by the Bronte Society in tribute to the women whose books are still read and loved around the world. The Bronte Society is one of the oldest literary societies and celebrates its 120th anniversary this year. For more information go to bronte.org.uk
Bracing is perhaps an inadequate word to describe walking the Pennine moorland surrounding Haworth, often claimed to be the inspiration for Wuthering Heights. Charlotte wrote in 1850 of the moors as ‘featureless, solitary, saddening. My sister Emily had a particular love for them, and there is not a knoll of heather, not a branch of fern, not a young bilberry leaf not a fluttering lark or linnet but reminds me of her.’ Try a Bronte Country walk by our walks writer Terry Fletcher who says: ‘Winter days can offer the ideal conditions of lowering skies and raking wind to really appreciate the atmosphere of the surrounding moorland which provided the setting for Emily’s great tale of love and revenge, Wuthering Heights. For fans of the book and of the sisters this walk follows in their footsteps onto the rocky paths and wind-scoured grasses which they frequently wandered to escape their gloomy home.’
The Haworth 1940s Weekend is the biggest event of the year in the village, usually held in the spring. It began almost 20 years ago when a local man who owned a wartime US Army Jeep got together with a few fellow enthusiasts to put their vehicles on display. The Main Street is trimmed up during the week before and the shops have special window displays. People put up ARP posters to get the right atmosphere. Visitors walk along the streets in period costume. There are displays of vintage vehicles, civilian as well as military ones. Meanwhile children from the local school re-enact the arrival of evacuees in the village, pulling up at the railway station on a train pulled by a preserved steam locomotive on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. The event raises thousands of pounds each year for the SSAFA, the national armed forces charity. Find out more at haworth1940sweekend.co.uk
The Friends of Haworth Park watch over an English Heritage Grade II listed park and conservation area, and are working closely with Bradford’s parks’ department to complete a series of major projects to improve and protect Haworth Park. Earlier this year a state-of-the-art bandstand was completed ideal for performing arts and bookings are being taken now. Also on the list are a new bowling pavilion, safer children’s playground and putting green with crazy golf. Show your support by contacting the friends through the haworth-village.co.uk website.
Eating and drinking
There is an abundance of places to eat and drink in Haworth from comforting coffee shops and cafes, restaurants serving traditional and international cuisine and welcoming inns. There’s guidance from the village website haworth-village.co.uk.