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Walkshire: The Bronte Birthplace walk

Bronte Birthplace Walk 

Distance: 2.5 miles approx

Pram friendly: Yes 

Thornton is a large village four miles out of Bradford in West Yorkshire and is famous for being the birthplace of the Bronte sisters.

It can sometimes be seen as the poor relation to Haworth, where the Brontes wrote their books, as it doesn’t have the pretty cobbled Main Street and Parsonage Museum.

What it does have however is some stunning countryside, beautiful walks and fabulous history. 

I grew up in the village so know its every nook and cranny and one of my favourite walks takes in the Bronte birthplace, the village and the stunning Thornton Viaduct.

With a 10 month old baby I’m always keen to find walks that I can do with a pram and this one ticks that box.

The walk

Start on Market Street in the centre of what could be considered the the old village outside the Bronte house.

Take a look at the Bronte house, it really is fascinating and out of lockdown there is a lovely cafe there called Emily’s which is well worth a visit.

The Bronte Birthplace

Head along Market Street through the old village with Ball Street on your left and Havelock Square on your right. You will eventually find Kipping Lane and you need to turn right onto Thornton Road to what is now the main village area.

If you want to take a slight detour you can turn left here you will see an area called South Square. It is a collection of 19th century cottages renovated in the 1980s and is now home to studio spaces for artists as well as a cafe.

Back to the walk and heading up through the main village for about half a mile you will find Thornton Cemetery and on your right and signs for the Great Northern Trail on your left.

Head down Woodsley Fold through a newish housing estate and you will find the start of the trail where there is a lovely wooded walk that eventually brings you next to Thornton Primary School. 

Snoozing on the Great Northern Trail

Just passed the school you will make your way onto the viaduct. 

Photo by Helen Broadbent

Towering above Pinch Beck, the grade two listed viaduct is more than 36 metres high, 270 metres long and has 20 arches that dominate the landscape.

It was built in 1878 as part of the line between Queensbury and Keighley and from the top, you can enjoy some amazing views of the surrounding countryside and over to Bradford. 

Just after the viaduct there is an outdoor cafe called the Junction Lodge which is well worth a stop as you’re probably about half way around at this point.

The Junction Lodge. Photo by Louise Lycett

Turn left and pick up Headley Lane which turns into Green Lane. This part is a bit of a slog as the hill is pretty steep but keep going until you reach Thornton Road.

A steep climb up Green Lane. Photo by Lynsey Brook

You will see the Blue Boar pub across the road, head up the cobbles and take a left. You are back onto Market Street here so keep going and you will return to the Bronte Birthplace. 

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