Haworth’s Christmas kicks off on 13 November this year with a unique event called Scroggling the Holly. A word peculiar to Haworth, ‘scroggling’ means gathering, and the festival sees local children parade in Victorian costumes along the village’s main street to welcome the Christmas spirit.
The following weekend brings another spectacle – Pipes, Bows and Bells – when marching pipers, morris dancers, bell-ringers, brass bands and choirs throng the streets. It’s a reminder of the time when weavers in the local mills tapped out rhythms with their wooden clogs.
December brings even more quirky festivities. The first weekend celebrates the tradition of pantomime, and gives you a chance to dress as Cinderella or an Ugly Sister and mingle with outrageously attired villagers.
On the second weekend, you can join a torch-lit procession led by Father Christmas and the Holly Queen, followed by carol singers and lantern-bearers, ending with a service in Haworth church. And on the weekend nearest Christmas, you can follow Mary and Joseph as they climb the hill in search of an inn for the night, accompanied by the local choir.
Besides enjoying this series of quirky events and soaking up the wonderful festive atmosphere as shoppers throng the streets, make time to visit the Parsonage Museum, where the Brontës lived, and take a walk over the moors that inspired Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.
But while many people have heard of Haworth’s connection with the Brontës, fewer are aware that the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, which winds just to the east of the village, was the setting for the 1970 film version of Nesbit’s The Railway Children. This charming winter walk takes in all the best-loved sites from the heartwarming tale.
The visitor’s centre in West Lane acted as a butcher’s shop in The Railway Children film and the Brontë Parsonage Museum doubled as Dr Forrest’s surgery. After exploring both of these, walk down Haworth’s main street, then turn left opposite the Fleece Inn and descend into Butt Lane.
After the old school, go left on a rough road, bending right and then left across Greenfields to reach Mytholmes Lane. Go downhill and over the bridge. Before the mill chimney, turn right. The path reaches a gate on to Station Road in Oakworth. Turn right. Much of The Railway Children was filmed at the station here; Mr Perks’s house was the white cottage just beyond the crossing.
Follow the road as it bends under Vale Mill and round Hoot Corner. Turn right at the next corner along Mytholmes Lane – the cottages featured in the paper chase in the film. Follow the path beside the beck.
It was from near here that the children watched the trains. At the road, cross the bridge and follow the road, turning right at the junction. Go downhill, pass Haworth station and bend left by the war memorial.
Go right, signed ‘Oxenhope’, and follow the path, much of it beside a disused canal that carried water to the mills. Pass the derelict North Far Ives Farm. At the next farm, bear right through a stone stile. Continue along the path to North Ives Barn, to join a surfaced road. Before the sidings, turn left to cross the line (with care). Climb past Bents House, which was the children’s home, Three Chimneys, in the film. Bend left then right behind the house – the stile in the corner is where Perks became stuck.
Back to Haworth
At the top of the track turn left, then right up Old Oxenhope Lane. At the top bear right, through the farmyard, and head north, towards Haworth. By Sowdens Farm the path goes right, down a winding walled track, then directly back to Haworth churchyard.
HOW TO GET THERE
Haworth is west of Bradford on the A6033 from Keighley to Hebden Bridge. The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway serves the stations at Haworth, Oakworth and Oxenhope.
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