The following is a guest blog post by Gail Crowther on visiting Haworth and Top Withens, Yorks, England. Thank you Gail!
Haworth and Top Withens feature in a number of Plath's poems, letters and journal entries along with pieces of published and unpublished prose. Most of her writing stresses the lonely and blustering nature of the place – blackened gravestones paving the ground in front of the Brontë Parsonage, withered trees, open moors of heather and sheep, a tumble-down building clinging to the moor side at Top Withens. In an account of a Withens walk published in The Christian Science Monitor on 6 June 1959 (12), Plath describes there being "as many ways to get to Withens as there are compass points" (12). Yet she had just tried two approaches – one from the town of Haworth and another across the moors from Heptonstall. Last weekend, I walked to Withens from Haworth. No dour skies or lonely howling winds accompanied us as we trecked from town to moor, but rather a blistering sun and a warm wind that took the edge off the May heat-wave. I have been to Withens twice before, both in much sterner weather more fitting for the supposed inspiration of Wuthering Heights. It is always an odd experience as I feel myself following the traces of two women writers years apart – Plath following Emily Brontë and me following Plath following Emily Brontë. Much is unchanged – the beginning of the moor spreads away from Haworth behind Penistone Hill gradually becoming browner and increasingly bare. The "grandmotherly" sheep still graze amongst grass and heather. Staring into their eyes is still like "being mailed into space." READ MORE ON THE BLOG