With the current screening of Wuthering Heights it seemed quite apt that we should have arranged to go to Top Withens yesterday. We had some young visitors who were eager to go to Haworth and as the weather wasn't too bad, after spending a few hours at the excellent Bronte Parsonage Museum we parked at Penistone Hill Country Park and set off on the three mile walk to the isolated farm that has become associated with Wuthering Heights. The Bronte Society claim that the building itself does not resemble Emily's description of the famous Heights, but the location of the farmhouse is perfect. Two hundred years ago the walk from Haworth to Top Withens would have passed many more dwellings that have now disappeared but as one climbs further up onto the moors the farms become much more spread out, and Top Withens stands alone and forlorn with a single tree beside it.
We were very lucky to have an (almost) dry walk up to the farm, accompanied by the popping of guns from the grouse shooters across the valley and the purple heather providing dramatic splashes of colour between the vivid green ferns that cover the hills. We were glad to shelter in the shippon at the side of the main building that has been repaired and fitted with a rough bench for visitors. We didn't mind the rain on the walk back, and were spared the winds that seem to blow for most of the time over the moors.
W returned home wet, muddy but extremely pleased with ourselves and settled down to watch the second part of Wuthering Heights.
A Final word about the Bronte Parsonage Museum – they are currently displaying some of the costumes from the new adaptation of Wuthering Heights, as well as an extremely interesting exhibition on the life of Branwell Bronte. Well worth a visit if you are in the area.
Melinda Hammond / Sarah Mallory.