Haworth is a village in West Yorkshire, England, in the Pennines 5 km southwest of Keighley, 16 km west of Bradford and 16 km east of Colne in Lancashire. The surrounding areas include Oakworth and Oxenhope. Nearby villages include Cross Roads, Stanbury and Lumbfoot. Haworth is a tourist destination known for its association with the Bronte sisters and the preserved heritage Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.
Haworth is served by Keighley Bus Company rural bus service which provides links to the main local town of Keighley and the local villages of Oxenhope, Stanbury, Oakworth and Denholme. There is also a service to Hebden Bridge. Evening and Sunday services are partly paid for by Metro. Central North Street Car Park Haworth, formerly Changegate Car Park, has been subject of a Channel 4 television documentary “The Yorkshire Clamper”, regarding their tactics.
Rail Travel Times:
York to Haworth: from 1 hr 30 mins (includes bus to Haworth from Keighley)
Plan and Book:
Haworth: See and Do
Tourism accounts for much of the local economy, with the major attractions being the heritage railway and Bronte Parsonage Museum. In Haworth there are tea rooms, souvenir and antiquarian bookshops, restaurants, pubs and hotels including the Black Bull, where Branwell Bronte’s decline into alcoholism and opium addiction allegedly began. Haworth is a base for exploring Bronte Country, while still being close to the major cities of Bradford and Leeds.
The 69 km long Bronte Way walking track leads past Lower Laithe Reservoir, Stanbury to the Bronte waterfalls, the Bronte Bridge and the Bronte Stone Chair in which (it is said) the sisters took turns to sit and write their first stories. It then leads out of the valley and up on the moors to Ponden Hall (reputedly Thrushcross Grange in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights) and Top Withens, a desolate ruin which was reputedly the setting for the farmstead Wuthering Heights. Top Withens can also be reached by a shorter walking route departing from the nearby village of Stanbury.
Ponden Hall, reputedly Thrushcross Grange in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights
The Bronte sisters were born in Thornton near Bradford, but wrote most of their novels while living at Haworth Parsonage when their father was the parson at the Church of St. Michael and All Angels. In the 19th century, the village and surrounding settlements were largely industrialised, which put it at odds with the popular portrayal in Wuthering Heights, which only bore resemblance to the upper moorland that Emily Bronte was accustomed to. The Parsonage is now a museum owned and maintained by the Bronte Society. St. Michael and All Angels’ Church, where the Bronte sisters’ father Branwell Bronte was the Parson, is situated on Church Street, next to the parsonage. It is part of the Church of England Deanery of Craven.
Bronte Parsonage Museum
The Bronte Parsonage Museum is a writer’s house museum maintained by the Bronte Society in honour of the Bronte sisters – Charlotte, Emily and Anne. The museum is in the former Bronte family home, the parsonage in Haworth, where the sisters spent most of their lives and wrote their famous novels. The Bront Society, one of the oldest literary societies in the English speaking world, is a registered charity. Its members support the preservation of the museum and library collections.
The parsonage was built between 1778 and 1779. In 1820, Patrick Bronte was appointed incumbent of St Michael and All Angels’ Church, Haworth, and arrived at the parsonage with his wife Maria and six children. It was the family home for the rest of their lives, and its moorland setting had a profound influence on the writing of Charlotte, Emily and Anne. Patrick Bronte was a published author of poetry and fiction and his children grew up accustomed to the sight of books carrying their name on the parsonage shelves. The parsonage was used as a location in the 1970 film The Railway Children, where it featured as the home of Dr Forrest.
Haworth Railway Station
Haworth and Haworth railway station have been used as settings for numerous period films and TV series, including The Railway Children (starring Jenny Agutter), Yanks (starring Richard Gere and Vanessa Redgrave), and Alan Parker’s film version of Pink Floyd’s The Wall (starring Bob Geldof). It also featured in “Wild Child” (starring Emma Roberts), and “The Souk” (a high class vintage shop) was depicted as a charity shop. In 2016 the BBC drama To Walk Invisible was shot in and around Haworth and included a full-scale replica of the Bronte Parsonage, Old School Rooms and Haworth Church at the time of the Brontes on nearby Penistone Hill.
Keighley and Worth Valley Railway
The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is heritage railway which runs on an 8 km branch line that served mills and villages in the Worth Valley and is now a heritage railway line in West Yorkshire. It runs from Keighley to Oxenhope, and connects to the national rail network at Keighley railway station. Haworth is the last station on the line before it reaches Oxenhope. The Old Gentleman’s Saloon, as featured in The Railway Children, which is a former North Eastern Railway directors Saloon, is part of the Railway’s rolling stock.
In 1861, a Civil Engineer named John McLandsborough visited Haworth to pay tribute to Charlotte Bronte and was surprised to find that Haworth was not served by a railway. He decided that this should be changed and put forward a proposal for a branch running from the station at Keighley to Oxenhope, which was warmly received by a number of mill owners and other influential people in the area as well as the Midland Railway, the owners of the railway through Keighley. The branch served 15 mills around its terminus as well as others on the line, and these were likely to be a source of traffic.
Tracklaying was completed in 1866, having started at each end and joined in the middle. The line was operated by the Midland Railway, who owned most of the rail network in the area, and was eventually bought by the Midland in part due to interest from the rival railway company, the Great Northern. British Railways operated the last scheduled passenger train on Saturday 30 December 1961 and with no Sunday service the passenger service was deemed withdrawn from Monday 1 January 1962. The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is currently one of only two preserved railways which operates a complete branch line in its original form, the other being the heritage Ecclesbourne Valley Railway in Wirksworth, Derbyshire.
Locations: The Railway Children
Lionel Jeffries’ 1970 film remains probably the best loved version of E Nesbit’s famous book about the Waterbury family, three Edwardian children and their mother, who have to move to Yorkshire when daddy is wrongly imprisoned. Most of the film was made in West Yorkshire around Haworth.
The story follows the adventures of the Waterbury children – Roberta ‘Bobbie’ Waterbury (Jenny Agutter), Phyllis (Sally Thomsett) and Peter (Gary Warren) – who are forced to move with their mother (Dinah Sheridan) from a luxurious Edwardian villa in the London suburbs to “Three Chimneys”, a house near the fictional ‘Great Northern and Southern Railway’ in Yorkshire, as their father (Iain Cuthbertson), who works at the Foreign Office, has been imprisoned as a result of being wrongly accused of selling state secrets to the Russians.
The film begins, though, at the Waterbury family home in London, at 3 Gainsborough Gardens, off Well Walk, in Hampstead. The family soon relocates to the north, where the railway line used for filming is the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway – mainly the stretch between Keighley and Oxenhope. Oakworth Station is, indeed, Oakworth. Immediately south of the station, 61 Station Road is the house of station-master Perks’ (Bernard Cribbins). “Three Chimneys” can be found a few kilometres to the south of Oakworth in the village of Oxenhope. It is Bent’s Farm, a little to the north of Oxenhope Station at the end of the road running south from Marsh Lane.
The village seen in the film is Haworth. You can see the shops where the children collect presents for Mr Perks’ birthday, on Main Street, Lodge Street (the ironmonger’s where the children get a shovel) and Church Lane (the house with the flight of stone steps which stood in for the Post Office and General Store). The Doctor’s house is in fact the Bronte Parsonage Museum itself, Church Street, south of the village. The tunnel where schoolboy Jim injures his leg during the paperchase, is Mytholmes Tunnel, north of Haworth toward Oakworth near Mytholmes Lane, while a few metres south on the line is the Metal Bridge seen in the famous ‘goodbye’ shot.