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Spotlight on Brontë Country - Winter 2009/2010

This LocAle spotlight shines on two traditional public houses nestled in the heart of Brontë Country.

The Lamb, Leeming

Perched upon the valley head at the edge of Oxenhope there sits a stone structure which was not originally built as a pub but started life as a tannery. The Lamb Inn at Leeming lies in an area that has undergone great changes over the past few centuries. From agriculture and cattle grazing to a cottage textile industry which evolved into the mill industry formed in the first half of the 19th century. Although close to Haworth of Brontë fame, the Oxenhope area still retains much of its industrial origins and remains a quiet backwater with the mills now mostly residential.

The Lamb has witnessed many of the changes in a location overlooking moorland that can be bleak and beautiful at the same time. Outside, it is a typical Yorkshire stone building and the inside is a well-appointed single room pub. As you enter, a cosy dining area lies to your right with the main bar and drinking area on the left. Open fires cheer you in cold damp weather and the décor includes traditional brass with plenty of photos of the pub and the surrounding area from days gone by. Walkers and families are warmly welcomed and a beer garden beckons when the sun shines on the moors. (Yes, the sun does shine in Yorkshire!) LocAle beers are Black Sheep Bitter, Copper Dragon Golden Pippin and Timothy Taylor Landlord with John Smith’s Bitter also on offer. Home-cooked meals are served lunchtimes and evenings and a basket filled with jars of homemade chutneys and pate sits on the bar tempting you to purchase one to take home. An upstairs room is available for meetings and functions.

There is a car park but public transport will get you there as well. The Keighley and District 663 bus runs from early morning until late at night from Keighley. Alight at the Post Office in Oxenhope and walk up Denholme road (a fairly steep hill!) to the pub. The 500 bus runs between Keighley and Hebden Bridge via Oxenhope during the day. Alternatively take the preserved Keighley and Worth Valley Railway to Oxenhope Station and walk the half mile via Station Road through the village past the Post Office and again up Denholme Road. It’s well worth the walk and if you’re seeking a good traditional pub to relax, drink and socialize in the Lamb is definitely the place to go.

The Lamb, Denholme Road, Oxenhope, West Yorkshire BD22 9NU: Telephone 01535 646394 Opening hours 11-3 and 6-close weekdays (Weds only in the evening); all day opening on the weekends.

The Old Silent, Stanbury

Less than three miles to the northwest the small village of Stanbury sits snugly beneath the heather moors very near the Pennine Way. Stanbury has even closer links to the Brontë sisters with Top Withens (reputedly the setting for the farmstead in Wuthering Heights) nearby. The village is blessed with three pubs, two in the middle of the village and the third on Hob Lane, the road leading out of the village towards Lancashire. The Old Silent Inn is a traditional roadside hostelry dating back over 400 years with earliest records showing it as a family farming business in 1822. Rumours have it that Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed at the inn and relied on the villagers to “keep silent” which seemingly led to its present name. The pub is also thought to be haunted following numerous ghostly sightings over the years.

A large stone pub, it’s pleasantly rambling inside boasting numerous rooms including the Wishing Well restaurant. Oak beams, open fires and a pleasant atmosphere offer a comfortable place for a drink and a chat and outside there are two beer gardens to enjoy the local views from. The bar serves Timothy Taylor Landlord, Theakston Old Peculier and Black Sheep Bitter as LocAle beers along with a changing guest beer. The Ponden function room is available for hire and there is accommodation for those wishing to linger in the local area. For those of a modern persuasion WiFi is available in the bar areas. Food is locally sourced and served lunchtimes and evenings during the week (Early Bird Special 5.30-6.30) and throughout the day on weekends and Bank Holidays.

There is ample car parking at the pub and Keighley and District bus 664 runs Monday to Saturday during the day with its terminus just a five minute walk up the hill. Make the effort to visit the Old Silent Inn and you’ll find a pub that offers something for everyone.

Old Silent Inn, Hob Lane, Stanbury, nr Haworth, West Yorkshire BD22 0HW: Telephone 01535 647437. Opening Hours 12 – close daily. Web-site: www.old-silent-inn.co.uk

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