Sunday, 30 December 2012

Haworth

Haworth is nestled in the hills of West Yorkshire and is a gorgeous suburb of Keighley.  We’d been before but Neil hadn’t been that impressed.  He mustn’t have been feeling too well that day as I’d liked it.

First thing first, Haworth is really awkward to get to from Manchester.  We’d been here before and had taken the M60, exited junction 23, drove through Hebden Bridge and picked up the road to Haworth.  It was a ball ache, although the road from Hebden Bridge to Haworth is absolutely lovely as the road hugs the hillside with beautiful views of the valley.  This time I had a ‘bright idea’ to take the M60, M66, A56, M65, A6068 and School Lane.  Firstly we got delayed where the M66 goes into the A56 as there was some road works going on.  Then we hit Colne.  I’d forgotten we had to go through Colne and I’ve never managed to get through Colne without some delay.  The problem is at the lights into Sainsbury’s as traffic always gets snarled up.  If there was a town crying out for a by-pass this was the one.  Once through the town we picked up School Lane for Haworth.  School Lane to Haworth is a lovely drive and almost worth all the cursing I did to get there.  It’s quite a tight drive down the road.  However the scenery is lovely and I guess that’s why the Brontes were inspired by the landscape.

This time I’d learnt not to park at the railway station as there’s a steep hill to hike up to the town centre.  Instead we parked on Rawdon Road (B6142) that had some free parking.  Although I do have a public service announcement to make: if you have dodgy knees or are a wheelchair user, Haworth town centre is scarily steep.
Main Street is where you will find all the shops.  The street is packed with characterful buildings and has cobbled streets.  This place really works its Bronte connection and the Bronte’s Dad Apothecary is now a gift shop.  It looked great with the old signage and the vintage advertisements for Coleman’s Mustard and Lyons Tea.  The first time we came there was a really fat cat flaked out by the window, however this time we couldn’t find it. 
 
Howarth is a good place to do your gift shopping: antique, vintage, crafts, books, collectables, farm foods, alternative and witchy.  You can also eat well with lots of little cafes, a fish and chip shop and pub grub.  We bought a nice rocky road from a local bakery.
I loved the sign of the alternative witchy supplies shop called ‘Spooks’.  So simple, but said it all.  I’m a fan of Venables and Bainbridge Book shop which is packed full of second hand books.  Neil managed to find an old NME annual.  Yorkshire Relics is good for collectables.  However they do know their stuff and you won’t find a bargain, but you might find what you are looking for.  There was a woman who kept pestering the guy who ran the shop about how he knew about the stuff he sold.  I just wanted to butt in and say ‘experience’.  
 
As it was Halloween time it was fun to see Haworth gets into the spirit of things.  There was a stilt walker dressed as if she was riding a dragon.  Some of the houses had Halloween decorations and the shops were decked out with pumpkins and scary stuff.  Ye Sleeping House B&B looked spectacular decked out as a house of horrors.
There is only one charity shop in town – Sue Ryder.  It’s just out of the town centre on the road down to the station.  It’s worth a visit as not only are the staff very friendly, but upstairs they have a nice vintage section.  Although be careful when you go up and down the stairs, if you’re tall you can easily hit your head as Neil did.
Behind Main Street there are allotments perched on the side of the hill, which was surprising to find.  There were lots of dogs in the town too and we had a stroke of a placid Golden Retriever.  Although I did spot a little blond girl dressed head to foot in peach – peach furry coat, peach tutu, peach shoes.  To top it all she was called Kylie – who in this day and age calls a kid Kylie?  Clearly someone who likes dressing a child head to toe in peach as a three year old version of Sarah Jessica Parker.
 
Just as we were going back to the car we spotted a black cat acting slightly strangely. It appeared to be on a mission or it was full moon.  On a whim we decided to follow it.  It stopped on a side street, but it wasn’t interested in being stroked.  Then out of nowhere a big black and brown furry cat came up to us.  It was so friendly and we had a stroke.  Then without warning it bitch slapped my hand.  I was quite shocked as it didn’t growl at me or give any signs of irritation.  The cats then wandered off together to a local cottage.  I did get some video footage of these cats – follow this link to You Tube.  They were cute though.
I really like Haworth and would happily spend a weekend here, either in a B&B or rented cottage.  It would certainly make the journey worthwhile as it’s such a nightmare of a drive.