Rapidly, merrily, life’s sunny hours flit by.
Gratefully, cheerfully, enjoy them as they fly!’
Charlotte Bronte (1816 – 1855) from the poem ‘Life’.
Most people are familiar with the book and film of ‘The Railway Children’.
The film, released way back in 1970, was made in Yorkshire and made extensive use of the Keighley and Worth Valley heritage steam railway line.
Many familiar scenes from the film, such as stations, houses and trackside views can easily be identified as you chug your way along the picturesque line from Keighley. (Park and ride available at the station. A Day Rider ticket will allow you to hop on and off all day).
At the penultimate stop you can alight at the world famous literary home of the Bronte Sisters at Howarth.
From the railway station, walk up through the well kept, beautiful park and enter the fairly steep, cobbled main street and stroll gently to the top of the hill to find the Bronte Parsonage, the local school built by Patrick, the former apothecary where Branwell acquired one of his bad habits, and the Black Bull pub where he acquired others.
The Bronte Parsonage and museum is open to the public and has been maintained just as it was when the sisters lived there when writing their novels and poems.
All of this creativity may well lead you to doing something creative of your own, for, when you feel the pangs of hunger, you can satisfy both of these needs in one fell swoop.
Half way up Main Street, on the right you will find Cobbles & Clay (Jill’s Café).
It has a small patio area outside with tables and chairs, directly onto Main Street.
Traffic here is very light so you will not be bothered by a stream of traffic.
On sunny days it is a perfect place to eat and people watch.
‘No junk. no gunk’ is the operative phrase here, as the food supplied caters for vegetarians, vegans, gluten and dairy free. No additive juices, organic beers and wines as well as soya milk can be provided. The cake display will make your eyes shine and your mouth water.
The café is open from breakfast to evening. All produce is locally sourced and much of it is made on the premises.
How does all this help satisfy your (non-additive) creative juices?
Upstairs you will find a large selection of white pottery ware featuring a huge array of items from cups and saucers to jugs to plates, animal figures and even a dragon.
Paints and brushes can be supplied to your table, either as a stand-alone activity or as you eat. The pots are then glazed and fired in their own kilns and seven days later, you can pick up your item, or it can be posted out by mail. These are sent all over the world to visitors.
On our visit, we took up residence on the patio in the glorious summer sunshine.
The very fine red pepper and feta quiche salad at £6.95 looked very impressive, but of the two sharing boards on offer we rejected the Mediterranean option and stayed closer to home with a Yorkshire platter instead.
Thus, thick, sweet slices of locally produced ham, were supplemented with a pork pie (two would have been nice), balsamic whole onions, chutney, coleslaw, a 6 piece selection of five different beautiful cheeses, grapes, salad and sourdough bread and butter. At £18 for two, just about on the money, and delicious to boot.
Soups, stews, platters and sharing boards are the mainstay items here and very tasty they are.
There are themed evenings of various activities and live music held regularly.
Jazz features highly with luminaries of the ilk of Snake Davis and band appearing.
So why not make a day of it? A railway trip, a literary homage, a feast of food and a memorable ceramic to bring back fond memories.
Sounds like a plan that Charlotte Bronte would have approved of.
For menus, programme of events and more go to www.cobblesandclay.co.uk .
If travelling by car your sat-nav will find it at BD22 8DP but as this is on a narrow, cobbled hill you will not be able to stop or park. There are signposted car parks in the vicinity however.