Sunday, 13 November 2016

Autumn Walk Around Oxenhope, Bronte Country

Monday 31 October, Halloween, was one of the most beautiful days I can remember in my life. I woke up in Haworth with G, and it was a glorious autumn morning - sunny and very mild. After a sumptuous breakfast at my favourite Old Registry (best ever smoked salmon and scrambled eggs) we drove to Oxenhope station to start a walk featured in the "Walking with the Brontes" book. Yorkshire in England is not the place with the most spectacular autumn colours in the world, but autumn is still a very beautiful season here just like everywhere else. And I believe the colours were at their best when we did the walk.

We parked in the large car park outside attractive Oxenhope Station, and I soon started looking for my opening shot. It had to "scream" autumn, so I walked over to these beautiful trees with yellow and orange leaves and positioned myself so I could use them to frame the station building. I liked how the red detail on the building complements the autumn colours in the image.
Oxenhope Station is served only by steam trains and is the last stop of the preserved Keighley and Worth Valley Railway line.

I love coming across beautiful houses on my walks, and this one, called Wilton House, was no exception. I marveled at the virtually bare willow tree with just a few golden leaves still, only just, hanging onto their branches.

I peered into the forlorn, but still very beautiful autumn garden ...

Very soon we were on a countryside path, with Bridgehouse Beck to our left. We were accompanied by its soothing murmur, if not always its visible presence, for most of our walk.

We crossed the railway, and I lingered trying to make sure I get a decent shot of the railway tracks. Railway tracks and stations are a subject I have long had on my list to explore photographically in greater detail. There is something nostalgic and romantic about old railways that speaks to my soul, and the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway with its past times steam trains feels perfect for the sort of images I would like to create.

Looking back towards Oxenhope station and its Railway Museum.

As we climbed a steep path uphill along the edge of a field this little scene caught my eye thanks to the lovely tree with its russet leaves.

At the top of the hill I stopped to look back and admire the view.

Ahead of us was Bents House of the lovely, feel good Railway Children film.

Further along there was a little surprise pond.

I always enjoy simple rural scenes like this one, with the subject relatively small in the frame, and large areas of sky and foreground. Such scenes are ideal for processing with textures, and being a great fan of this editing technique I usually can't resist having a go. I like how the scene ended up looking more autumnal through the use of textures.

The Original 

Half way through the route we reached Haworth and its melancholy Parsonage cemetery. The graves were nearly all covered in colourful fallen leaves now, and you could only see the jutting head stones. The village of Oxenhope is only a mile and a half away from Haworth. The part of the walk we had done so far is also part of the Bronte Way, a 43 mile long distance footpath which connects places associated with the Brontes. 

We soon started our return along a valley bottom path, never far from the railway and Bridgehouse Beck. 

We passed a derelict dwelling, and I spent a few minutes here taking photos. Ruins always seem to hold an uncanny fascination for me.

There was a charming old bridge over the beck.

Loved this part of the walk; the calming sound of flowing water and mellow afternoon sunlight filtering through autumnal leaves were to me the highlight of the day.

We were now walking along a main road towards the entrance to the village with beautiful views over Oxenhope to our right.

Back in the village we visited a small park on the crossroads with a small weir. I wish I had made a note of the name of this lovely corner of the village.

The fallen leaves floating in the water, some glowing light and reflections made me smile.

At the entrance to the car park I spotted another delightful autumn sight. The trees here were now bathed in low sunlight which brought out the wonderful colours of the leaves.

I was very impressed by this short but beautiful walk as well as the village of Oxenhope just outside my beloved Haworth. I have since started to read a book that told me more about this area - "Bronte Country Lives & Landscapes" by Peggy Hewitt whom I was so pleased and lucky to meet at the Bronte Society Literary Lunch last weekend. In her recently republished book Peggy mentions and talks about some interesting landmarks we actually passed on our walk, but I never knew exactly what they were about. I am so looking forward to going back and photographing this places for a future blog post.


  1. What a beautiful autumn walk! A gorgeous collection of photos. I'd love to do this same walk one day!

    1. Thanks Louise, I hope you do get to do the walk one day. I'm sure you would love nature up here! x