The Brontë Stones are a group of stones placed in the landscape between the birthplace of the Brontë family in Thornton and the parsonage where they wrote their famous work in Haworth.
The project was devised by writer, Michael Stewart, who took inspiration from another literary walk. There are three stones that celebrate the bicentenaries of the three sisters: Charlotte, Emily and Anne, and a fourth stone to mark the significance of the Brontës as a literary family.
The stones have been carved by fine art letter carver, Pip Hall, with specially commissioned literature by famous contemporary female writers. The project was curated and delivered jointly by Michael Stewart and the Bradford Literature Festival and funded by the Arts Council England.
In 2013 I secured some funding from The Arts Council and The University of Huddersfield, to take a group of poets across the moors to celebrate the one year birthday of the Stanza Stones trail. This trail, commissioned by Ilkley Literature Festival, featured original poems written by Simon Armitage on the theme of water and connected his birthplace in Marsden with the festival in Ilkley.
We did the 47 mile walk in three days, conducting 'walkshops', giving readings and hosting open mic events on the way. The trip culminated in a final performance at the Ilkley Literature Festival. We were joined by hundreds of readers, writers and walkers along the way.
What struck me about literature in the landscape was how it engaged with so many people. I was also in awe of the letter carving of Pip Hall. I thought about Thornton, where I live, the birthplace of the Brontë sisters, and how I could put it on the map. The solution was obvious: I would create a literary trail from the birthplace to the parsonage in Haworth where they wrote their literary works.
I would commission some of the best writers around to write pieces for each of the sisters, which would be placed in the landscape along the way. I got carried away. I devised three further walks, one for each sister, working on the maps with the brilliant cartographer, Chris Goddard. Since then, the walks and stones have attracted Brontë fans from all over the world. And continue to do so.