"We set off, not intending to go far; but though wild and cloudy it was fine in the morning; when we got about half-a-mile on the moors, Arthur suggested the idea of the waterfall; after the melted snow, he said it would be fine. I had often wished to see it in its winter power, so we walked on. It was fine indeed; a perfect torrent racing over the rocks, white and beautiful!"
The surrounding moorland seems very wild and isolated these days but at one time there were many dwellings around the Falls and the moors were dotted with farmhouses and weavers' cottages. There are many 'erratics' - large boulders that litter the moors, brought down here from the Dales and the Lake District by glaciers in the Ice Age. These were crushed and burned in kilns to make lime to fertilise the acidic moorland. The moors were also mined for coal until the coming of the railway in 1867 meant it was cheaper to bring in coal from the bigger mines further south. So these moors were a hive of activity, with many people living and working in the area.Charlotte Brontë, 29 November, 1854