The Watersheds Walk is a high-level traverse of the high moorlands surrounding the Worth Valley, starting and finishing in Keighley, West Yorkshire. The route is fairly arduous if tackled as a challenge, but may be walked as a series of shorter rambles if required, and is divided up into three sections to facilitate this.
My main intention in devising this walk has been to offer an alternative to existing walks in the Worth Valley. I have tried to avoid the beaten track as much as possible, and the tourist track in particular.
I set off on this journey in search of solitudes which are not associated with the Brontes and their following, so, if you wish to escape from the hurly burly of urban life, then come with me and let's see what we can discover on the Worth watersheds.
Of course one cannot entirely avoid the Brontes and the attendant tourism industry. They are, after all, a vital part of the economy of the present day Worth Valley. What I can do, however, is to explore rather less well frequented avenues of local interest, and hopefully this I have done. Above all, I have concentrated on Keighley, which, although regarded as being culturally inferior to Haworth by the powers-that-be, has always been (and still is) far more vital to the social and economic needs of the area than the whole of 'Bronteland' put together.
If the lonely uplands beyond Newsholme Dean and Slippery Ford are relatively unspoilt, then the same is true (in a quite different sense) of honest, hard grafting Keighley.
Of course there are those who will object to some of the subjective on-the-spot comments and 'gut feelings' expressed in these pages, and to them I apologise in advance. Yet I remember myself standing in the rain among the allotments on the outskirts of Keighley as I approached the end of a long journey; the ink was running down the pages of my notebook and Jack Russell Terriers were yapping around my legs. Perhaps it was then, thinking of old Richard Hattersley slumbering beneath that mossy slab in Keighley Churchyard, that I began to realise that I had never really set out to be objective.
Copyright Jim Jarratt.
2006 First Published by Smith Settle 1989