Top Withens is a ruined farmhouse high up on Haworth Moor near the village of Haworth. This remote location is said to be the inspiration for the Earnshaw house Wuthering Heights in Emily Brontë’s novel. It’s easy to see how this bleak location could have inspired Emily’s work and no visit to Brontë Country is complete without a walk up onto the wild and windy moor.
It’s an easy walk along the Cemetery Road out of Haworth and onto The Brontë Way to Brontë Bridge where the path climbs up and out across open moorland with Top Withens visible on the horizon in the distance.
Those of you who have been on a workshop may recall the late winter image of Top Withens above which I said I viewed as a “work in progress” and wanted to get back at different times of year to have another look – so it was nice to finally get back again…
This visit was timed to capture the heather in bloom, though it’s mainly grass immediately around the ruin – and the tree certainly looks better in winter without the dark green summer leaves.
Up above the ruins on Withins Height there was a bit more heather and this elevated viewpoint shows off the remote setting of the building really well.
Somehow I couldn’t help thinking that the subject needs heavy weather rather than bright sunshine and blue sky – and a shot excluding the blue sky when the sun passed behind a cloud for a moment produced an image with a completely different feel.
From Top Withens you can retrace your steps, or take the left fork just below the ruin to follow the Pennine Way on the return route to Stanbury (where you can stop for refreshment at the Wuthering Heights Inn!) before crossing the Low Laithe Reservoir dam to get back to the Cemetery Road to Haworth.
So having been back for a second visit, I now can’t wait to visit again – maybe for some more brooding winter shots! What time of year will you visit?
Note: Withins or Withens?
Historically the name appears to have been Withins, but the farmhouse has been known as Top Withens since the 17th Century. However, just to confuse the issue, all of the surrounding areas on the OS map use the older spelling, e.g. Withins Height, Withins Flat, Withins Slack!
Map: I used Ordnance Survey OL21 South Pennines for my walk. Top Withens is roughly at grid reference SD981354.