Claims that Bronte Country is a magnet for fans of al fresco love have left locals bewildered.
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 councillors and the Bronte Society, while police said they had received no reports of dogging in the area.
Bradford councillor Glen Miller said: “I’ve been a councillor for 14 years and never once has anyone contacted me about ‘bawdy fresh-air frolics’.
“I’ve been more concerned with complaints about clamping in car parks. I will of course, go up to the moors tonight to check this out for myself...”
Haworth parish council chairman and former journalist John Huxley dared to question the veracity of the paper’s report.
“It looks like a figment of somebody’s imagination to me,” chuckled Mr Huxley.
“I’ve heard most things, but never this. If there was such a problem, I’m sure the police would know and sort it out.”
Sergeant Chris Watson, of the 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.”
The article promised to expose some of the “after-dark shenanigans”, and a helpful blonde lady, luckily caught on camera in broad daylight, confessed that as well as stripping in front of odd people in the middle-of-nowhere, she was a massive Bronte fan.
“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,” she said.
The reference to Heathcliff left the Bronte Society’s Ann Dinsdale shocked and horrified.
“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, the society’s acting director.
“Although he may be like that in the films, in the book he’s cruel, vindictive and possibly a killer. I’m not too sure about this story, but it makes a change from wheel-clampers.”