This year marked the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth and her spirit survives on Haworth Moors – at their most atmospheric in winter and the inspiration for much of the Brontë family’s work. Heading out west from the pub, past Lower Laithe Reservoir and then back through Stanbury to the Museum Parsonage, you will pass, on the return, the Brontë Waterfall described by Charlotte as a “perfect torrent racing over the rocks, white and beautiful”.
Fleece Inn (fleeceinnhaworth.co.uk); OS Explorer Map OL21 which the wall was built. It’s a scene that has barely changed in 2,000 years.
Housesteads Fort Car Park Milecastle Inn (milecastle-inn.co.uk); OS Explorer Map OL43 The writer JRR Tolkien visited Stonyhurst College, the Catholic school in the village of Hurst Green in the Ribble Valley, during the Second World War to see his son John, who had been evacuated there. While there Tolkien wrote chapters of The Lord of the Rings – sprawled out at a desk in a classroom – and scholars have found many influences from the surrounding landscape in his writing. The fiveand-a-half mile Tolkien Trail makes a wonderfully atmospheric walk. It takes you around the college, past Pendle Hill and 12th-century Clitheroe Castle, through woods, along riverbanks and over stiles.
Shireburn Arms Hotel, Hurst Green (shireburnarmshotel. co.uk): OS Explorer map OL41. The mysteries (or the baloney, depending on your outlook) of The Da Vinci Code, with its web of intrigue including the holy grail and the knights templar, still has the power to provoke lots of lively discussion. All the more so during a walk through rocky Roslin Glen ending at that architectural jewel box, the Rosslyn Chapel, supposed final resting place of the Grail itself. Rosslyn’s walls boil with flora and fauna, mythical beasts and musical instruments. There is so much energy compressed into that stone, it’s almost frightening.
The Original Rosslyn Inn (theoriginalhotel.co.uk); OS Explorer Map 344
A misty view of the 12th-century Tintern Abbey, above; the Seven Sisters, below