The director of Haworth's Brontë Parsonage Museum has stepped down from his post after more than seven years in the job.

Alan Bentley, who lives in Cross Roads, has left the Brontë Society to pursue a career in freelance heritage work and management consultancy.

He said: "I have enjoyed my time as museum director. It's been frustrating in some ways but really good in others.

"Attracting visitors is always a struggle - there was the foot and mouth outbreak when I first started.

"Being head of an internationally renowned attraction is quite a tough, complex job and involves a lot of demands on one's time.

"But I've enjoyed working with the staff here and liked the experience of being associated with the Brontës.

"There have been a lot of improvements to the museum - particularly to the education service. We've expanded our collection quite considerably and raised a good deal of funds.

"We're also redeveloping our exhibition room, which will be opening in February of next year."

He added 2009 should be a big year in terms of publicity for the parsonage.

It is due to include the screening of two or three films based on the life and work of the Brontë sisters, along with an ITV serialisation of the novel Wuthering Heights.