A Unique Destination in the Heart of Brontë Country

Top Withens

“Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr Heathcliff’s dwelling. `Wuthering’ being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there at all times, indeed; one may guess the power of the north wind blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun.”

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

‘Top Withens’ is the ruined farmhouse said to be the inspiration for the Earnshaws’ house in ‘Wuthering Heights’ – Emily Brontë’s moody, brooding, passionate story of doomed love and the widespread destruction it causes.   The house sits on the Pennine Way in the wild, windswept landscape that was so influential to – and a major part of – the story.

With a footpath following a 6 mile circular route which passes the house, the Brontë Waterfalls and Brontë Bridge, you can walk in the footsteps of the author and her characters, experiencing for yourself the dramatic setting of this classic of English literature, and arguably the best of all the Brontës’ novels.

You can walk directly across the moors from Walshaw Lodge to Top Withens.  If you wish, we can provide a local guide and/or packed lunches for the trip.  The walk takes around 3.5-4 hours.

Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontë’s only novel. It was first published in 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell, and a posthumous second edition was edited by her sister Charlotte.

The name of the novel comes from the Yorkshire manor on the moors on which the story centers (as an adjective, Wuthering is a Yorkshire word referring to turbulent weather). The narrative tells the tale of the all-encompassing and passionate, yet thwarted, love between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and how this unresolved passion eventually destroys them and many around them.

Now considered a classic of English literature, Wuthering Heights met with mixed reviews by critics when it first appeared, mainly because of the narrative’s stark depiction of mental and physical cruelty.Though Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre was originally considered the best of the Brontë sisters’ works, many subsequent critics of Wuthering Heights argued that its originality and achievement made it superior.Wuthering Heights has also given rise to many adaptations and inspired works, including films, radio, television dramatisations, a musical, pop songs, ballet and opera.

We can provide you with a local guide to walk with you across the moors. Packed lunches can also be supplied. The round trip takes around 4 hours at a brisk pace, the majority of which is across the Pennine Way.

Useful Links

The Reader’s Guide to Wuthering Heights

Top Withens (ibid)