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South Pennine Walks

Withins Height & Top Withins

Top Withins

Date: 8th May 2010
Distance: 5.8 miles
Ascent: 1142 feet
Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SD995371

Walk Summary:
A fine little ramble in Bronte Country including a visit to the popular Top Withins and the much less frequented Alcomden Stones.

Route Summary: Ponden Reservoir - Ponden Hall - Ponden Kirk - Alcomden Stones - Withins Height - Top Withins - Harbour Hill - Bronte Bridge - Ponden Reservoir


1. Ponden Reservoir

2. Ponden Kirk and Ponden Clough

3. Looking up Middle Moor Clough to Withins Height

4. Alcomden Stones

5. The trig point on Withins Height

6. Top Withins

7. The Bronte Society plaque

8. Looking across to Haworth Moor and Harbour Hill

9. Withins Height from the top of Harbour Hill

10. On Bronte Bridge

11. Bronte Falls

12. Looking down to Ponden Reservoir

Walk Detail: Remarkably it was now over four years since my first ill-fated attempt to visit Withins Height and Top Withins.

This time I was on my own for what I had planned as a fairly shortish walk. My initial route took me up to the head of Ponden Clough and Ponden Kirk to just above the crossing over Middle Moor Clough. This section was just as scenic as I remembered it and I was quite amused to see that a bridge now spanned the section where my mum had fallen in - perhaps she was not the only one it had happened to.

I had been expecting a rough walk from Middle Moor Clough up on to the moor but as it happened there was a thin shooters path that took me most of the way on to Alcomden Stones and then a much clearer path to the trig point.

The trig point is situated almost half a mile and 11m lower than the actual summit of Withins Height. To get to the latter involved the only real rough walking of the morning as the top was a sea of tough grassy tussocks. There was little depth to the view as the top was so flat but I could still make out a number of other South Pennine tops including Stoodley Pike, Black Hameldon, Boulsworth Hill, Ovenden Moor and Little Wolf Stones. Further north I could faintly make out a number of the Dales heights including Ingleborough.

The following section of the walk was taken up visiting a number of features that are in some way linked with Emily Bronte and her famous novel 'Wuthering Heights'. The ruined farmhouse of Top Withins is undeniably romantic in a bleak kind of way though as a Bronte Society plaque explains it actually bears little resemblance to its fictional counterpart.

I imagine the literary associations to the so-called Bronte Bridge and Bronte Falls are just as tenuous. Once again though there is no doubting the charming scenery these two offer along that section of South Head Beck.

All in all this was a quick easy walk on good paths almost the entire way with some interesting features not least of which being Ponden Clough and the modest Alcomden Stones. It was nice after all this time to finally complete this.

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South Pennines

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