The Yorkshire Post and Bronte blog alerts to yet another (unexpected and particularly stupid) threat to the Brontë country we know and love:
The moorland that inspired Wuthering Heights has remained untouched by time since the Brontë sisters visited its wild beauty in search of inspiration. But now the glorious carpet of heather is in danger of being usurped by invading flora planted by mourners who have scattered the ashes of loved ones on the moors. Penistone Hill, which features in Wuthering Heights as Penistone Crag, has become a focal point for those brooding on the loss of family and friends. As a high point above the former Brontë Parsonage at Haworth, it has long been a favourite spot for memorial benches. But it seems many are no longer content just to sit and reflect, or lay the odd wreath. They now turn up with trees, shrubs and flowers to plant on the moors. Problems have emerged as few are indigenous to Howarth - or moorland in general – and have been spreading through the landscape like wildfire.
The Brontë Society is concerned that - if left unchecked - the traditional flora such as heather and harebells so beloved by the sisters will be lost forever. The spread of foreign plants is also endangering the fragile habitats of moorland birds that the Brontës wrote about, such as lapwings, curlews, and skylarks.
Penistone Hill has a special place in the hearts of Brontë fans since it inspired the great romantic scene between Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon in the 1939 film. Members of the Brontë Society are so concerned for its future that they have teamed up with Bradford Council to create a memorial garden.
The aim is to draw the problem away from the moorland wilderness to the tidiness of Haworth Park - where council gardeners can contain the threat of alien spores. The heritage and conservation officer for the society, Christine Went, insisted the threat to the literary landscape and its sites of special scientific interest was very real. She said: “As far as we can tell from the Brontës correspondence the moors have changed very little since they walked upon them..”< br />
""Much of the poems and writing on moorland themes and mentions include heather, harebells, lapwings, curlews and skylarks. “They are all still there - along with a lot of other species. So the last thing we want is non-indigenous species coming in and putting pressure on natural habitats.haworth-village.org.uk/nature
“These include a great variety of mosses which are very delicate habitats. It would be so easy to upset the balance and wipe out whole species