Why Should You Visit Bronte Country, Haworth?Susannah Walbank
Wyedean has been manufacturing military uniform accessories in Haworth for over 50 years, since 1964. One of the first challenges it faced upon its inception, was the uprooting of large, textile, narrow fabric looms, moving them the length of the country and then settling them back into production in Haworth.
Wyedean was formally founded on 7th April, 1964, by David Angus Wright who was born in 1921 and educated just outside Haworth, at Keighley Boys’ Grammar School. Many of Wyedean’s current staff are from Haworth and the surrounding areas, and it is a community the company continues to support.
Haworth remains a popular tourist destination for a variety reasons:
Most notably it was home to the famous Brontë sisters. Haworth is an undisputed literary mecca, attracting visitors from all around the world. With its historic cobbled Main Street, iconic parsonage museum and rolling moors, the picturesque proportions of this Airedale village exude a vintage charm that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into another era. If you take the time to explore the wilderness of the stunning Brontë countryside, you can see where the famous sisters got their inspiration for their well-known novels Wuthering Heights, Jayne Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
While the Brontë sisters are famous worldwide for their literary successes, their father Patrick was well known more locally within the village due to his role as the curate of Haworth Parish Church.
In fact every member of the Brontë family, except Ann who died from consumption in Scarborough, was buried in a tomb beneath Haworth Parish Church (also known as the Church of St. Michael and All Angels) which was rebuilt after the Brontë’s death.
Haworth Parish Church was constructed between 1879 and 1881, and, although little remains of the previous buildings, parts of the present church tower formed parts of both the medieval church building as well as the one that Patrick Brontë would have used. Many historical connections between both the Anglican and Methodist movements are still present.
Together with St Gabriel’s church, in the nearby village of Stanbury, Haworth Parish church is currently in the middle of fulfilling a five year plan to repair and restore both church buildings. In 2012 after tirelessly raising money, and with the help of several grants, the roofs were finally able to be repaired.
Members of the congregation have also worked hard to raise around £10,000 from events such as master baking classes, fayres and concerts.
Wyedean values being a part of the Haworth community and made its own donations in order to help repair the roofs. If you would like to make a contribution to Haworth Church you can do so here.
Bronte Parsonage Museum
One of the more popular local walks is the Passionate Brontë Walking Tour. For more information see here. There isn’t a huge amount of walking involved, but you cover the key areas around Brontë Parsonage, and it’s suitable for nearly all ages and abilities.
Be sure to head for the Brontë Parsonage Museum which was home to the Bronte family from 1820 until the last surviving member of the family, Patrick, died in 1861. It’s in this house that the sisters were inspired to write their masterpieces; and the moorlands, so integral to Emily’s novel, Wuthering Heights, can be viewed through the windows. In fact, there are many of the girl’s possessions still in the museum which makes visiting the museum so much more interesting and authentic.
Haworth Main Street
(Photography by Mark Davis)
It’s easy to spend hours and get lost exploring the treasure trove of vintage, antique, second-hand and gift shops on Haworth’s Main Street. The traditional sweet shop at the top of the hill, Mrs Beighton’s Sweet Shop, is definitely worth a visit, offering a fantastic selection of old-fashioned sweets including handmade Yorkshire fudge. If you feel like getting creative, then why not visit Cobbles and Clay. They invite all ages and abilities to grab a bite to eat and get creative by choosing from a selection of unglazed pottery shapes to paint and keep – or just enjoy looking at the hand-painted pieces on show while having something to eat and drink. To see what they are all about click here.
Another popular Haworth attraction is the Steam Railway. From the present day listing of locomotives and rolling stock to forthcoming locomotive rosters, from the past history of the railway to a sleeper-by-sleeper description of the line and for a guide to filming on the Worth Valley branch, there is something for every railway enthusiast! Most can be seen by visitors, but some are housed away from public view whilst under restoration for future use. For more information on the Haworth railway visit the website.
Haworth Countryside Walks
Haworth is also known for its countryside walks. The Railway Children Walk is a popular one with visitors allowing you to see plenty of countryside and attractions including Oakworth station made famous by the classic Railway Children movie. One of the most popular walks with Bronte enthusiasts is to Top Withens.
One of the first things you will notice on this walk is that all of the footpath signs are written in Japanese as well as English. This walk takes you on a literary journey over Haworth Moors to the Withens ruins. These ruins are the supposed site of Wuthering Heights and home to the Earnshaw family in Emily Bronte’s novel.
Haworth 1940’s Weekend
Haworth’s 1940’s weekend is one of the village’s busiest weekends, attracting people from up and down the country. Raising funds each year for the charity SSAFA – The Armed Forces Charity – this year’s theme will be “Aireborne” to commemorate the incredible bravery and sacrifice of the airborne allied forces. The Aire Valley Transport Group operates a free vintage bus shuttle service between Haworth Station and the Parsonage Car Park.
There is plenty to do on the Main Street over the weekend including, evening dances, land army parades, Bradford Pipe Band Show and plenty of stalls in the park. Depending on the weather there is usually a fly over from a Spitfire plane. This year Haworth 1940’s weekend will take place on the 13th – 15th May 2016.
Haworth also hold the 1960’s weekend which, this year, takes place on the 25th – 26th of June 2016. To follow updates and information on the event click here.
Tour De France
On Sunday 6th July 2014 the second stage of the Tour de France came through Haworth as part of the race from York to Sheffield. The route ran up the village’s famous main street before travelling on to Stanbury, Oxenhope and Hebden Bridge – all in the very heart of West Yorkshire’s Bronte Country. The village also hosted one of the official event viewing hubs – the Haworth Hub which was situated in Haworth Park.
As the Tour de France was such a huge success the Tour de Yorkshire took its place the following year and has become a yearly event. For more information on this event see here