Saturday, 12 August 2017

Summer Days in Haworth, Brontë Country

Last month, when we stayed at Ponden Hall, I couldn't but spend some time in Haworth as well. On the second day, after a walk on Stanbury Moor to Ponden Kirk, we went down to the village where the famous Brontë Sisters lived and wrote, and where we shall live too before very long hopefully.
We parked as usually in one of the small lay by car parks on Cemetery road, and walked the short distance to the part-flagged path in the field leading to the Brontë Parsonage.


We passed Rabbit Hill, as the locals popularly call this mound which belongs to the remains of Dimples quarry. With its lone tree to one side it makes for a lovely scene, and every time I am there I have to reach for my camera.


View of West Lane and Worth Valley beyond from the path to the Parsonage.


The field behind the Parsonage.



Once in the village we did a quick tour of some of the shops; had a couple of drinks at the Fleece; dinner at the Old White Lion, and then before going back to Ponden Hall, I had a little wander around the Parsonage to savour the evening mood.



The following morning, after a hearty breakfast we said good bye to Julie and Steve, our lovely hosts at Ponden Hall. G went back home to Leeds and I stayed in Haworth. The first thing I planned to do was visit the Parsonage. Its garden looked beautiful on this lovely summer morning.



The gardener was working outside the house while her dog was soaking up the sunshine.


In the Parsonage two things caught my eye on this occasion - some books and Brontë artefacts on top of the chest of drawers in Emily's/children's room.......


.......and "Palm Squirrel", the watercolour on card with silk-sewn binding by Charlotte Brontë. It is thought that Charlotte may have intended it as a needle-case cover.


Back outside, I decided to go for a relaxing walk in Worth Valley. I reached Sladen Bridge, a hamlet with a charming row of cottages all delightfully framed with colourful summer blooms.



Next I got to Milking Hill Farm where an attractive converted Mini Morris was parked.


On leaving the hamlet of Lumbfoot, where some houses were being demolished making what was a pretty village almost unrecognizable, I was looking for this charming old arched footbridge on the river Worth. It was hidden amongst the trees and I only found it with the help of a local lad. From here I followed the Worth back towards Haworth.


This is Long Bridge, an old packhorse bridge which is anything but long and thus makes me wonder where the name comes from. It straddles a confluence of the river Worth and Sladen Beck, and there is a ford beneath it. I find this spot magical and wonder if the Brontës knew it. So far I have not heard or read about any mention of this bridge in connection with the family.


For me this is one of the most serene, soothing and inspiring countryside places anywhere I have been; I keep dreaming of coming back here to sit on the rock beneath the tree on the right listening to the sound of water, reading poems by the Brontës, immersing myself into photography, or just losing myself in the wonderful feeling of becoming one with nature......



Back on the path towards Haworth I passed Lower Oldfield Farm. It was a gorgeous Saturday afternoon....perfect for lighting a barbecue.... I wished.....




Near the end of the path on the northern edge of Haworth there is a metal gate to a small cemetery - I was back in the village.


As I turned left into West Lane and walked on, the pretty Brontë Street caught my eye with its shady late afternoon peacefulness.
I nipped into the Fleece Inn for a glass of wine and a light but scrumptious meal; and then, with a heavy heart, it was time to say bye to Haworth once again....but not for long .....not for long!






Sunday, 6 August 2017

Summer Afternoon on Penistone Hill, Haworth, Brontë Country

Yesterday, after some shopping on Main Street and a lovely lunch with a friend in The Old White Lion, one of my favourite pubs in Haworth, I headed for Penistone Hill Country Park to do a bit of moorland photography and just enjoy the wonderful and inspiring landscape I love so much. It was nearly 5 o'clock in the afternoon, the sun was still shining and getting lower in the sky, and there were also big white clouds in the blue skies. The lighting was beautiful and varied with the sun often slipping behind the huge clouds and then showing its face again. I love being out with my camera on a day like that when you get a whole gamut of different light within as little as an hour or two.
I edited the photos with just basic and gentle tweaks in Lightroom, intending to just enhance the scenes as I found them rather than changing anything about them.








The main purpose of my visit to the moor was to take photos of the heather, which is at its best at this time of year, to use in my tribute image to Emily Brontë for her bicentenary birthday next year. I realized that heather on Penistone Hill is not quite as spectacular as further away on the moors, but I did manage to find some good stretches of it.







Thursday, 3 August 2017

Still Life With Book and Doll's Hat

Time for a new still life post. This image was intended as a summer still life, but I shot it back in May when the weather was much more summery than it is now. My lavender, which I used in this image, was in its first and best bloom; the warm and sunny days made me dream of walking in long grass wearing a hat similar to the one in the photo and of lazy afternoons spent reading a good book in the garden. The writing quill from the Brontë Parsonage shop adds balance to the composition as well as allusion to the literary sisters who are my constant muses in everything creative I do.
I processed the image with just a quick and subtle texture layer from Jessica Drossin's "Wuthering Heights" texture pack. I am particularly pleased with how the colour of the background came out: the grey-green shade seems to work well with the red, pink and purple in the rest of the image.







Sunday, 23 July 2017

The Villages of Laycock and Goose Eye, West Yorkshire

Two miles west of town of Keighley, on the border with Brontë Country lie two old, small and peaceful villages: Laycock and Goose Eye. I love exploring and photographing picturesque villages and was very pleased to discover these two which are only a slight detour on my way to Haworth.

Wandering around Laycock, I was immediately drawn to the sense of slow pace of life and living in harmony with countryside and nature. The villagers were friendly and took the time to chat to us: there was an owner of a beautiful and unusual, very old house doing some work outside, and further up a group of ladies came out of another house after getting together for a morning coffee. There were some gorgeous gardens teeming with colourful summer blooms and attractive tables with chairs thoughtfully placed to enjoy soothing, far reaching views.


















We passed through Goose Eye on our way out of Laycock, but I came back to take photos a few days later. Goose Eye sits in a deep hollow below Laycock and it's known for "The Turkey Inn" pub and a small independent brewery. The hamlet has its origins in the 18th century Industrial Revolution when it was developed around two water powered mills.


On the edge of the car park, which is the site of the former mill dam, there is Turkey Mill where high quality paper was manufactured. The mill has recently been converted into flats.






On the bank of a beck, in a lovely woodland setting stands the Rag Mill. The mill was used to grind up rags to a pulp used in paper manufacture. After a long period of disuse it was converted into apartments in 2000 and thus saved from dereliction.








It was a very hot and sticky day, and we were thankful for the charming 19th century pub being within easy reach. The food and drink were very good indeed at the Turkey Inn and we enjoyed the olde worlde decor. The whole experience of the day felt quite special, and we shall remember this village and the pub in future when we want to go somewhere different.