Claims that Bronte Country is a magnet for fans of al fresco love have left locals in bewildered disbelief.
A national newspaper ran a two-page article on Sunday which said its reporter had witnessed “lust-crazed couples invading the moors around the parish of Haworth for bawdy fresh-air frolics”.
It stated that so-called “doggers” – people who enjoy sex with strangers in car parks – were drawn like Cathy’s ghost to the moors for after-dark assignations in lay-bys and pull-ins.
But the claims have been met with puzzlement from local councillors and the Bronte Society, while police said they had received no reports of the activity in the area.
Bradford Councillor Glen Miller (Con, Worth Valley) said: “I’ve been the local elected representative for 14 years and never once has a resident, businessman, worker, walker or car park user ever contacted me about such ‘bawdy fresh-air frolics’.
“I’ve been more concerned with complaints about clamping in car parks.”
National tabloid journalist turned Haworth Parish Council chairman John Huxley dared to question the veracity of the Sunday paper’s probe.
“It looks like a figment of somebody’s imagination to me,” laughed Mr Huxley. “I’ve heard most things, but never this. I have regular meetings with community police and such behaviour has never been mentioned. But if there was such a problem, I’m sure the police would know and sort it out.”
Sergeant Chris Watson, of Bingley and Worth Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We are not aware of any reports. However, we would encourage anyone with any concerns or information to contact the Neighbourhood Policing Team and we will investigate.”
In the article, the theme of the Bronte sisters’ literary magic wove its way through the paper’s racey prose.
Having correctly said literary lovers flock to Haworth, home of the famous sisters, it then revealed that: “When night falls, the deserted country roads lure sexual thrill-seekers.” The article promised to expose some of the “nocturnal nookie” taking place in a car park near the Bronte waterfalls.
A woman, identified only as “Sam”, was reported to have said: “I’ve read Wuthering Heights a few times and the thought of being out on the moor with a fella like Heathcliff really gets my blood running (sic).”
But it was the literary reference to Heathcliff which left the Bronte Society’s Ann Dinsdale shocked.
“I find it very hard to believe anyone who had actually read Wuthering Heights ‘a few times’ could view Heathcliff as a romantic figure,” said Ann. “I’m not too sure about this story, but it makes a change from wheel-clampers,” she laughed.