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Haworth Ramblers


On Saturday the first of September in 1906 a group of sixteen gathered in the garden at Horton Croft in Stanbury. This was the home of Jonas Bradley the Stanbury schoolmaster. Jonas Bradley earned wide renown as an educational reformer, natural historian, local historian, lecturer on the Brontës and one who knew everything that was worth knowing about Stanbury and its district.

The fifteen set off from Stanbury late in the afternoon and walked up to Timmy Feather's cottage at Buckley Green Bottom. There they spent some time talking to Timmy - the last of the hand loom weavers - before setting off for Top Withins after five o'clock. They walked on past Withins and over the top into Walshaw Dean where Halifax's new reservoirs were being constructed. Refreshments were taken at the Ridge (or Packhorse Inn) which they left at 10pm to walk by moonlight down Hardcastle Crags. They returned over Cock Hill which would then have been a quiet moorland track. The time that they reached home again is not recorded but it must have been in the early hours of the morning.

After this first expedition the group continued to walk every couple of weeks during the summer months. Their numbers grew and the range of their activities extended from the Worth Valley. At first they explored Airedale up to Skipton, the upper Calder valley and the Ilkley region. By 1911 they had started to walk in the Yorkshire Dales which they covered from end to end over the years. The first World War did not stop them: their secretary faced with disbanding the group said "No, t'job's a good un". They did have to settle for tripe suppers instead of their usual pie & peas though.

Even the second World War could not halt their progress - although it did limit them to walks in the local area. They did not, however, survive into the changed times after the war - their last recorded ramble was on the 22nd of September 1945 to Dick Hudsons. Presumably they had simply got too old and young people were not available to fill the ranks. After 39 years and well over 400 walks the Haworth Ramblers ceased to exist.

A notable feature of the group was the pamphlet sent out to the members before each walk. These were four-page printed pamphlets giving details of the next one or two walks. As well as the practical details about travel arrangements and the all-important 'sangwidges' they had a great deal about the history and natural history of the places to be visited. Over two hundred different leaflets are known to survive from 1909 when they first appeared until 1939 when they ceased at the beginning of the war. These leaflets are a neglected source of information on local history and much else. It seems most likely that all of these were compiled, if not written, by Jonas Bradley himself who was President until his death in 1943.

© Steven Wood


To mark the hundredth anniversary of the Haworth Ramblers' first walk the Upper Worth Valley History Group walked from Stanbury to Hebden Bridge on Saturday 2nd September 2006. They followed the route taken by that first walk as far as the National Trust car park at Hardcastle Crags. and continued down the Hebden valley to Hebden Bridge and retraced the Ramblers' return journey on the bus - the Cock Hill road is no place for walkers these days!

Haworth Ramblers at Horton Croft 1st September 1906
Horton Croft 1st September 1906
Haworth Ramblers at Ridge
Haworth Ramblers at Ridge
Jonas Bradley
Jonas Bradley
Haworth Ramblers at Beamsley 1932
Haworth Ramblers at Beamsley 1932
Haworth Ramblers at Otley Chevin 1932
Haworth Ramblers at Otley Chevin 1932
Haworth Ramblers at Hardcastle Crags
Haworth Ramblers at Hardcastle Crags

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