Into Brontë Country

The dales, in Haworth, open out from the back of the Bronte parsonage museum, and are the evocative heart of an area popularly known as 'Bronte country'. Here, Charlotte, Anne, Emily and Branwell Bronte would walk and, apparently, write: the 'Bronte waterfall' retains a 'seat-shaped stone' upon which Emily Bronte - the most nature-obsessed of the family - would compose poems. On top of a steep hill is Top Withins, a ruined farmhouse said to have been an influence for the eponymous Earnshaw home in Wuthering Heights - though, as a plaque in the wall 'placed in response to many inquiries' asserts, it bears no physical resemblance to the house she described, except its isolated situation in the moorland.

As with many 'writers' countries' in England, and elsewhere  - Wordsworth's Lake District, Hardy's Wessex - there is a strange mingling here of fact and fiction: Top Withins is not Wuthering Heights, but Wuthering Heights' very unreality links the two places together, via Emily Bronte's imagined inspiration.