Thursday, September 4, 2014

On the Heels of Jane Eyre and Elizabeth Bennet

About a month and a half ago now, Dan and I spent a week in Manchester, UK.  As with Trieste, he had a conference to attend, and I got to do the sightseeing thing.

Our very first day we made a rather bold (for us anyway) move and went hiking for several hours. We landed around 10, arrived at the hotel around 11, and decided that instead of sitting around, we should go hiking.  In planning for the trip, I had come across a trail that featured sites from Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice.  It sounded like our kind of hike.  You can find it here if you want; I highly recommend it if you're ever in the area.

Close to Manchester is the Peak District, which I knew of because it's where Mr. and Mrs. Gardner go with Lizzie in P&P when they can't make it all the way to the Lake District.  It is also where Charlotte Brontë spent time while she was writing Jane Eyre.  This is where we headed.

Our walk started out in beautiful green rolling hills, crossing through sheep paddocks and making sure we latched gates as we left.

The first literary hot spot was a surprisingly small manor house that provided inspiration for Thornfield.  In reality, it's called North Lees Hall.  As you approach it, it looks like you can't see all of it through the trees.

But as you come around the other side, you realize it's like a cottage, with a weird boxy 3-story extension hanging off one side.  A bit of a disappointment as far as Thornfield manor goes.

After that we wound our way through forest and more paddocks, working our way up to the top of Stanage Edge. This cliff provides amazing views of the countryside, and is the iconic spot Keira Knightly stands with arms wide as the camera pans around her. (You know the one I'm talking about.)  This was a great place to explore, even though Dan started hyperventilating every time I got close to the edge.

It was more than a bit windy.

The view from the walk down.  You can see better how sheer
the cliffs are.

Looking the other way from the cliffs, you can see some of the moors that Jane Eyre gets lost in as she's running from Thornfield.

Descending from the cliffs, we ended our journey at the Hathersage Churchyard, where Little John of Robin Hood fame is said to be buried, though his tombstone looked a little newer than it should.

All in all, a good start to a vacation!


  1. Wish I could be there too. I love the pictures from the museum and the hike!

    1. Thanks Sweets! I'm a bit envious myself of the trip you're currently on, back in sunny California!