Bronte homeland in South Down gets first wind turbine without a cheep

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Bronte country in Rathfriland in South Down in Northern Ireland. Image courtesy of MLA John McCallister


The banner headline in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph screamed:

‘370ft wind turbines could tower over Bronte country.’

Locals argue that turbines said to be twice the height of Nelson’s Column could tower over Bronte country in North Yorkshire if new plans are given the green light.

These plans to escalate the height and number of wind farms and turbines in Bronte country in North Yorkshire decided for me to establish if this new energy phenomenon had impacted on Bronte country in Rathfriland in South Down in Northern Ireland.

It was near there in 1777  that Patrick Brontë, father of  Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte (“Jane Eyre”), Branwell, Emily (“Wuthering Heights”) and Anne (“Agnes Grey”) was born.

He  died on 7th June 1861 aged 84 in Haworth, Yorkshire.

Patrick Bronte preached at Drumballyroney Church (deconsecrated 1976) and taught in the local school in Glascar beside Glascar Presbyterian Church in South Down.

The first 100kW turbine to spear the local Bronte landscape was installed at a farm in the townland of Ballynaskeagh this summer without one voice in protest being raised.

The significance of this is the fact that the new spectacle on the horizon is the first presence, one and a half miles away as the crow flies, one spots on emerging from Glascar Presbyterian Church and the school,  where Patrick Bronte taught.

The docile compliance of the country folk, who once elected Enoch Powell in South Down is in marked contrast to the angry voices in North Yorkshire over the growing intrusion of wind farms in Bronte country there.

The Telegraph further reports that campaigners were already fighting plans to build four 328ft turbines on Thornton Moor, overlooking the former family Parsonage at Haworth, West Yorkshire. A new scheme announced this week could see nine 377ft tall turbines on moorland four miles away at Ovenden.

Residents of Brontë Country’s picturesque villages were dismayed when the 48m (157ft) tall turbines were granted planning permission in 1993.

Campaigners who fought the low key turbines in the first place say their impact will be insignificant compared to the proposed replacement turbines which are two and half times taller.

Society Chairman Sally McDonald said:

“In my opinion, the smaller turbines already there are damaging enough.

“But in comparison with the proposed new ones they are insignificant.

“These new ones will be huge and monstrous.

“It’s devastating. They will change and scar the landscape of this very special moorland place in a way that will be abhorrent.

“They will cause massive damage all along the skyline and be even worse than the Banks Renewable Energy scheme.

“Five hundred years from now people will still be reading the Brontë novels which are as ever-lasting as Shakespeare.

“But will people still come to Haworth?”


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I am a regular contributor to discussion programmes on TV and radio both at home and abroad. An experienced political editor and author specialising in Politics, Security and 20th Century Art.

1 Comment

  1. I know this area well, it is sign posted the Bronte Homeland Drive by the tourist board. This monstrosity is a blot on a beautiful and picturesque countryside. I cannot believe the Tourist Board or the locals allowed this to be erected without any objections…