Haworth - the Pennine village the Brontës put on the map

Had Patrick Brontë been the offered the perpetual curacy of a church in another West Yorkshire village, then the chances are Haworth wouldn’t be known around the world today.

A stunning photograph looking out across Haworth.
A stunning photograph looking out across Haworth.

But he did and now its fame spreads far and wide. The global success of the Bronte sisters - Anne, Charlotte and Emily - has transformed Haworth into a literary mecca that pulls in visitors from as far away as Japan, the US and New Zealand.

The Brontës have, of course, become synonymous with Haworth, but there are plenty of other reasons to visit this tourist hotspot nestled in the hills 10 miles west of Bradford, seen here in all its verdant glory.

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A hillside view of Scarborough with an unlikely link to Anne Brontë and Barry SheeneHaworth exudes a vintage charm but way from the village itself you can undertake the Brontë Way, a marked trail linking the key locations associated with the Brontë family, or explore some of the windswept walks that take in the dramatic, brooding moorland that characterises this isolated corner of the Pennines.

You can find some of the inspirational spots where the sisters wrote, visit the Brontë Bridge and the ruins of Top Withens (said to be the inspiration for Wuthering Heights) as well as the Brontë Falls.

Haworth is also making a name for itself as a haven for independent businesses, and everything from luxurious handmade chocolates to art galleries can be found on its historic cobbled Main Street.

How Yorkshire Dales barguest that haunts Trollers Gill is said to have inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for Sherlock Holmes novel The Hound of the BaskervillesIt has other claims to fame, too. For instance, it may surprise you to know that Haworth became the world’s first Fairtrade Village in 2002, and you might not be aware that the village is now twinned with Machu Picchu.

There is, however, no escaping the shadow of the Brontë sisters and their remarkable story - one that is brilliantly told at the Parsonage which was the Brontë family home from 1820.

That said, Haworth is far more than a museum to a famous family of dead writers. Yes, it celebrates the greatest literary siblings that ever lived, but it also taps into our fascination with, and our desire to understand, the past.

Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe

Technical detail. Camera Nikon D5, 70-200mm lens, ISO 100, 1/160s @ f6.3.