Get more for your money in this tourist hotspot
Its magnificent moors, literary sisters and steam railway have helped to create a healthy property market. Sharon Dale reports.
ON sunny weekend afternoons the steep cobbled main street in Haworth is packed with visitors who jostle for space in the quaint shops and queue for tables in the tearooms.
It’s the kind of day-tripper invasion that drives some locals mad, though most are grateful for the spin off benefits that tourism brings.
“Most people don’t mind because it’s what makes the village so lively and locals get the benefit. There are plenty of lovely shops, pubs and tearooms on the doorstep and that’s one of the reasons I love living here,” says Gwen Jones, who works for the Green Partnership estate agency.
Haworth also has a large primary school, a pretty park, a doctors surgery and a Spar mini supermarket and it’s these kind of amenities along with its location that attracts buyers.
Green Partnership’s Andrew Earnshaw says that the majority of people who buy in the village come from within a 10-mile radius.
“At the moment it is largely a local market. A lot of people come from Keighley and Bradford but they travel back out for work.
“We are also seeing buy-to let investors returning. All in all it is a sought-after place and property here is selling quite well, though it is price-sensitive. If the price is right it will sell.”
Two-bedroom terraced houses start from about £80,000, a three bedroom townhouse from £150,000 and a four bedroom detached from £265,000. The most affordable area is on the Brow and the most desirable are the characterful little cottages on the Main Street, though they’re not for everyone.
“I have a friend who lives on Main Street and he loves it, but a lot of locals prefer to live outside that touristy area, especially on the 1940s weekend, when it is extremely busy,” says Ian Bradbury, head of Dacre, Son and Hartley’s Keighley office and a former resident of the village.
Outside the main drag, the house types are mainly cottages and terraced houses. There are also some newer builds, plans to develop Ivy Bank Mill and a proposal to build 120 more properties, though the latter is already being contested.
New and period homes here offer good value compared to other Yorkshire tourist hotspots, says Ian Bradbury, who adds that property is half the price of that in Ilkley. It’s one of factors that attracts second home owners.
“There aren’t as many people looking holiday homes here at the moment but they are still coming. I have someone from London who is going to buy one.”
He may be interested in actress Sandra Dickenson’s second home at Cottage Mews, which is for sale thanks to her work commitments in the south. She loves the village for its location in stunning countryside. The surrounding moors are spectacular and a living connection to the Brontës.
Nearby Top Withens is said to be the inspiration for Wuthering Heights and there are many other landmarks that the sisters used to frequent. Surprisingly, not many buyers are motivated by proximity to these.
“We get more buying here to be near the railway and others because they’ve been for days out and fancy living here,” says Ian.
The Keighley and Worth Valley steam railway has a station in Haworth. Riding on it is a great experience, though it doesn’t count as a public transport link.
For this you would have to rely on buses, which run to Keighley, Bradford and Hebden Bridge. The trendy Calderdale town isn’t far away and Haworth could soon be a rival.
It is attracting more designer makers and artists, including furniture maker Anthony Hartley, who is based at Damside Mill.
His studio is there along with his gallery, which showcases other makers. Shops like The Imaginarium on the Main Street have also started to reflect the interest in contemporary art and design.
“House prices are cheaper here than in Hebden Bridge and the countryside are is just as attractive. I can see it becoming a creative hub,” says Anthony.