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Monday, 11 June 2018

Bronte Way 4

Friday 8th June 2018 - Denholme Gate to Bailiff Bridge.

After using two cars to get to Denholme Gate we decided that was no longer practical and  the walk could be finished in two days with one overnight and using public transport.

BC is the master of such logistics but I thought he may be tested with this, especially in view of the recent collapse of the rail sytem and the introduction of new timetables. I should not have doubted.

I drove to BC's house for 7:30 am on Friday. He drove us into Preston. We left the car on the multi storey adjacent to the station. A short walk and a few minutes later we boarded via the Northern Line train, they are the ones who have defaulted most with the recent rail drama, but surprisingly they were on time, or so we were informed. Once boarded a unique announcement told us the train toilet was broken so the train would be delayed by five minute toilet breaks at two stations between Preston and Halifax - BC's planning was now in jeopardy.

We had a fair uphill walk from the station in Halifax to a bus stop remote from the bus station, but despite time lost through the non-doing toilet, we were straight onto a bus to take us to Denholme Gate, and we were off walking by 11:00am.

Pleasant lanes and friendly fields took us to Thornton. The myths of industrial West Riding sprawl were dismantled with pleasant paths, often contouring and looking down into valleys through lush countryside and hardly a sound from roads and traffic. When I was married in 1970 we bought our first house, brand new, in Thornton for £3,500! Houses in Thornton are stone built and mostly dating back over a hundred years and more, providing  distinctive character and architecture. We found the house where the Bronte children were born which is now Emily's Coffee Shop where we stopped for a somewhat inferior coffee. The house is supposedly preserved much as it was in the Bronte's days. There were two elderly ladies talking at a nearby table with robust Yorkshire (Bradford) accents, at one point having an unlikely discussion about their respective email addresses - they easily outclassed Alan Bennett's Talking Heads. It is surprising that Thornton has not made more of its tourist potential, especially with the Bronte connection, but it is none the worse for that, virtually unchanged from the eighteenth century, and certainly worth a visit.

Our next Bradford suburb was Clayton involving our longest climb of the day, but views and countryside were always rewarding including a distant hazy sighting of the famous Lister's Mill chimney.

We passed through Shelf and then Norwood Green. I was born in Bradford and lived there until I was thirty and my memories are of a dour and oppressive environment, but all these suburb villages seem to have been revitalised, Norwood Green is an especially attractive residential village, again with old stone built cottages and larger, probably ex mill owners' houses.

Our day's walk ended at the not so attractive Bailiff Bridge where we hopped on a bus within a few minutes to take us a couple of miles into Brighouse where BC had booked us in at the Waterfront Hotel which proved to be satisfactory and friendly with a good, busy, typically atmospheric Italian restaurant.

That had been a splendid day's walking and a tribute to BC's organisational skills with public transport et al.

Final Day 5 to folllow


CLICK FIRST PHOTO TO SEE ALL AS SLIDESHOW


BC wanders down a pleasant lane - part of the attractive and varied terrain this day

A rare bit of more urban countryside

Old cobbled ginnel in Thornton

In Thornton, and below


Bronte birthplace, now Emily's Coffee Shop. See plaque below


BC inside Emily's



Just before the climb to Clayton

Looking back to Thornton - church spire from the church photo above just visible

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Zoom to Lister's Mill chimmney in Bradford


Appleton Academy, Wyke, zoom. An unusual school that takes children all the way through the age range




6 comments:

Roderick Robinson said...

I was thrown into profound reflection by this post. As an ex-Bradfordian I tried to imagine Thornton, Brighouse and, especially, Shelf as "places to go to" - voluntarily. Pure prejudice, of course; I've been through them but they have left behind not a shred of identity. To me they are simply destinations on the front of buses.

I can of course diddle around with them as words. A play written by a guy now living in the South, the Deep South perhaps: A Streetcar Named Wibsey. Brighouse is one of those pronunciation traps West Riding residents love setting for off-cumd-uns; "It's called Briguss," they say triumphantly, not noticing that no one seems to care. As to Shelf the possibilities are infinite: to name a suburb after the most anonymous item of furniture shows that Bradfordians are not without a sense of irony. But is it conscious irony? Another play, dating back to the kitchen-sink period, comes to mind: On the shelf in Shelf. An unemployed mill-girl, still wearing her grannie's clogs, is the up the spout from a travelling salesman from Ossett and daren't tell the head of the family whom, she suspects, is not her father but probably her sister.

"Pleasant lanes," you note, lead to Thornton. No doubt. For a brief moment I thought you'd caught the irony bug ("It is surprising that Thornton has not made more of its tourist potential...") but then it turns out you're serious. "Virtually unchanged since the eighteenth century," you say gesturing towards the stocks, the public manacles, the gibbet and the castle (for the rich man to inhabit).

But I'm no better. I set my novel, Blest Redeemer, in Bradford and I had the devil's own job reining back a tendency towards extremes. Babies cooked alive in Wyke, that sort of thing. What on earth can you have in mind for Day 5?

Sir Hugh said...

RR - steady yourself. We end up in Bradford itself.

bowlandclimber said...

Brilliant. Can't wait for Day 5.

Ruth Livingstone said...

So glad you’re back on the road (or, should I say, path) and enjoyed reading this. Well done to BC for working out the logistics. Very tricky sometimes, as I know only too well 😄

Mark said...

On the map this looks decidedly unpromising, but your photos show that my assumptions in that regard were unfounded. Looking forward to the last instalment.

Sir Hugh said...

BC - and ALL - only just caught up with these comments as I am still not receiving email notification on most, so I have to trawl back through my posts, and if comments have been made some time after the post it is possible I don't trawl back far enough. Anyway, BC you have prior knowledge, but our two takes will always bring up differences, and so I look forward to your versions.

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Ruth - I'm hoping you are going to be on your bike before too long - should be interesting.

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Mark - It is surprising how one can feel to be in remote, verdant countryside with peace and quiet in this West Riding, supposedly industrial landscape.