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I remember not long ago when Wycoller was called the Deserted Village.
It is now a thriving area with a car park at the top of the hamlet which is the focus of a well-run country park.
Last year I visited Wycoller around Christmas and I will repeat my short stroll this year.
I always plan my Christmas walk to be short yet full of interest. Wycoller is therefore ideal. From the car park follow the footpath downhill. This runs parallel with a narrow cul-de-sac which twists its way into Wycoller.
The track descends steeply and there are seats set at intervals which, if the weather is warm enough, good for picnics. The footpath links with the road and at a bend there is a small stream. There is a space here which provides an ideal birdwatching location. Here I found heron, grey wagtail and dipper. Then came my sighting of the day, which was not one kingfisher but two. Follow the route through the village and the cafe is situated on the left.
At one time the houses in the village were derelict but in recent years most have been restored. Wycoller was once a place which made its living from handloom weaving.
The dwellings had no running water and relied on one mill which was situated at Lowlands. The cafe has been converted from two handloom weavers’ cottages and the character of the buildings has been retained.
Approach the splendid little packhorse bridge. This dates to the 17th century and is in a fine state of repair. Cross the bridge and turn sharp right. Pass the ford over the beck on the right and head towards Wycoller Hall.
Spend some time around the hall, which has a fascinating history. The Bronte family knew it well and they had a friend in the area called Eyre. The book was therefore easy to name and Charlotte called Wycoller Hall Ferndean Manor. Although the hall is now ruined, I have a copy of an old print which shows Wycoller Hall enjoying Christmas in 1650.
Near to the hall is a splendid old barn and a small pond. During most of 2012 this has been something of a large pond and very popular with wildfowl.
From the pond pass through a gate on the right and cross the track which eventually leads to Haworth.
Cross another attractive little bridge (this one is much more modern) and turn sharp right. Pass along a track lined with a marshy area and some sculptures created out of wood by local artists.
On the right look for the Stone Clapper Bridge across the Beck. This pre-dates the packhorse bridge. Follow this track, keeping the stream on the right. Bear left through the village and ascend the step path back to the car park.
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