5 Yorkshire walks that inspired the Brontë sisters
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Writer Michael Stewart follows the steps of the Brontë sisters in his new book – and creates four walks named after the famous writers
‘When you go up onto the moors around Haworth, where the Brontës lived in The Parsonage, you’re immediately struck by how bleak it is. I know some people say it’s pretty, and it sort of is in a certain light, but not in a picture postcard way. The moors can actually be quite a lonely place, somewhere that really shrinks you and is hostile towards you. I think that infused their writing, that aloneness, but also that awe and wonder in the natural world.’
The words of writer Michael Stewart who follows in the footsteps of famous literary sisters Emily, Anne and Charlotte in a new book exploring the influence of landscape on the trio.
It’s not just for the tourists; Stewart implores locals to explore and ‘be more curious’ about the region, however familiar it might feel.
‘I think there is a wanderlust in the national psyche, people are itching to get out there,’ says Stewart whose book, Walking The Invisible, explores the social and natural history of the north, the places that might have inspired the sisters, and includes maps to help readers ‘engage with the landscapes’ on various walks.
The Bronte walks
‘I purposely chose these because they’re different lengths, severity and styles of walk, so hopefully there’s something for everyone,’ says Michael.
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The Charlotte Walk
‘A straightforward short loop across the hills around Thornton. The route starts in the village at St James’ Church, opposite the site of the old Bell Chapel where Patrick Bronte worked. The route takes in Thornton Hall, Hanging Fall, the Brontë Birthplace and Thornton Viaduct, and has some great views over the valley.’
The Brontë Stones Walk
Odgen Clough: part of The Brontë Stones Walk - Credit: Michael Stewart
‘A beautiful linear route over the moor from Thornton to Haworth that passes each of the four Brontë Stones. The route also takes in Ogden Kirk, Denholme Beck, Nan Scar and Oxenhope, following the Brontë Way in places but elsewhere offering interesting alternatives to this well-trodden trail.’
The Emily Bronte Walk
(14 ½ miles/23.7km) ‘
A hearty romp across the wild moorland Emily loved to roam high above Haworth and Oxenhope. The route takes in Top Withins, Alcomden Stones and Ponden Hall, as well as various other beautiful sites. Parts of the route are wet year-round so good footwear is essential.’
The Anne Bronte Walk
This varied route follows the Railway Children Walk along the Worth Valley out of Haworth, before climbing through Oakworth and Holden Park to charming Newsholme Dean. The route returns via Newsholme and Pickles Hill, before following the River Worth back towards Haworth.’
Walking The Invisible by Michael Stewart (HQ) michael-stewart.org.uk
Hawoth Bronte landmarks walk
A walk from Haworth that takes in all the significant landmarks associated with the family' Starting at Haworth Parsonage, then onto Top Withens, then onto Brontë Falls, and the Brontë Way.
Click here for the full description of the walk