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Top Withens ruined farm by the Pennine Way near Haworth
Top Withins ruined farm by the Pennine Way near Haworth

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Route No. 348 - Wednesday 23 June 2010
Penistone Hill, Bronte Falls, Bronte Bridge,
Top Withins, Withins Height, Haworth Moor, - 11km
Haworth, South Pennines . . .

Ordnance Survey route map on the Landranger series map base

Map: OS Explorer OL21 South Pennines at 1:25000


Looking across the valley to Stanbury and Oakworth Moor beyond from the car park at Penistone Hill
Looking across the valley to Stanbury and Oakworth Moor beyond from the car park at Penistone Hill

Rusty sign to Top Withens & Brontë Waterfalls
Rusty sign to Top Withens & Brontë Waterfalls

Track to the Brontë Falls
Track to the Brontë Falls

From the car park we crossed the road and followed the path across the heath land for about 900m to join a track at map ref. SE008364. We continued along this track for about 1km to the site of the Brontë Falls.

The weather today promised to be just right for walking, warm and sunny with a pleasant breeze. My neighbour, Jim, and I drove to Haworth in the South Pennines for a walk in the "Brontë Country". We parked on the edge of the Penistone Hill Country Park at map ref. SE018363.

Path from the car park to the Brontë Falls
Path from the car park to the Brontë Falls

The ruins of Middle Intake Farm
The ruins of Middle Intake Farm

Track to the Brontë Falls
Track to the Brontë Falls

Site of the Brontë Falls - but no water
Site of the Brontë Falls - but no water!

Even the peaty moors are very dry. There was only a small trickle of water running down the rocky cascade and indeed, not a great deal of water in the South Dean Beck itself.

The falls are on a stream that tumbles down a series of rock steps to join the South Dean
Beck in the valley leading down to Lower Laithe Reservoir. Unfortunately there has been no significant rain for several months.

Site of the Brontë Falls - but no water
Site of the Brontë Falls - but no water!


The restored Brontë Bridge

One of several sign posts in English & Japanese
One of several sign posts in English & Japanese

These are duplicated with a sign in Japanese as well as English. Testamony to the Japanese enthusiasm for the Brontë sisters' writings.

We crossed the Brontë Bridge over the South Dean Beck and began our climb up the hillside. There are wooden finger posts marking the route up to Top Withens.

Starting to climb up to Top Withins
Starting to climb up to Top Withins

Looking back down the valley of South Dean Beck
Looking back down the valley of South Dean Beck


Trees at Top Withins on the horizon over the stile

The ruins of Top Withins
The ruins of Top Withins

Information plaque at Top Withins
Information plaque at Top Withins

After 250m we reached the ruined farm house at Top Withins. There were some benches here where we sat for our lunch with a fine view eastwards to Haworth and beyond.

Our path followed the valley up on to the moor to join the Pennine Way route at map ref. SD983356. Here we turned left to follow the Pennine Way paved path.

Climbing up to Top Withins
Climbing up to Top Withins

A hungry ewe came to investigate our lunch
A hungry ewe came to investigate our lunch

Looking back to Top Withins
Looking back to Top Withins

Looking East from the moor top near Withins HeightLooking East from the moor top near Withins Height

Looking back to Top Withins from the Pennine Way
Looking back to Top Withins from the Pennine Way

Both side of a fallen boundary stone by our path
Both side of a fallen boundary stone by our path

It simply runs along the flat moor top, right on the ridge alongside a small drainage ditch. My gps gadget recorded the turn at map ref. SD 97971 34748. The ground is all soft peat which was quite dry today but normally it would be a tiring walk through soft wet peat.

After our break we continued along the Pennine Way path for about 600m to the ridge at Withins Height, map ref. 980348. Here we turned left off the paved path to walk along the ridge following a feint path across this open access land. There are no significant land marks to help you find this path.

Pennine Way path approaching Withins Height
Pennine Way path approaching Withins Height

Cotton grass on the moor
Cotton grass on the moor

Crossing the open moor from Withins Height
Crossing the open moor from Withins Height

Path down to Harbour Hill
Path down to Harbour Hill

A pallet used as a makeshift grouse shooting butt . . .
A pallet used as a makeshift grouse shooting butt . . .

This whole open moorland part of the route was pleasant enough today in the warm sunshine and clear skies, but it would be a nightmare to navigate in wet misty weather and thing could all too easily go badly wrong in such conditions.

After about 1.2km we turned left off the ridge at map ref. SD991346, at a point just before the ground begins a slight rise up to Oxenhope Stoop Hill. We were now back on
a public footpath which gradually became more defined and led us down to a little valley below Harbour Hill.

The little valley by Harbour Hill
The little valley by Harbour Hill

. . . and a stone grouse shooting butt
. . . and a stone grouse shooting butt

The path leading down from the moor top to Harbour Hill
The path leading down from the moor top to Harbour Hill

Sign post at Harbour Lodge
Sign post at Harbour Lodge


Footbridge at Harbour Lodge

Curlew circling around us
Curlew circling around us

At the road we turned left to walk along the road for about 150m back to our car. The whole route had been 11km and it had taken us four hours to walk including our lunch break.

From Harbour Hill we followed the path around Harbour Lodge and onto the access track to Harbour Lodge. We followed this track for about 2.5km back to the road at map ref. SE018361.

Path around Harbour Lodge
Path around Harbour Lodge

Curlew circling around us
Curlew circling around us

The access road from Harbour Lodge
The access road from Harbour Lodge

Leeshaw Reservoir from the Harbour Lodge access road
Leeshaw Reservoir from the Harbour Lodge access road