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The Tolkien Trail

The epic ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy was compiled over the course of some 16 years and finally published in 1954/55. J.R.R. Tolkien, his wife, and other children, regularly stayed at a guest house in the grounds belonging to Stonyhurst College. Their son, John, who was studying for the priesthood at the English College in Rome, was evacuated to the Jesuit seminary at St. Mary’s Hall (now the preparatory school for Stonyhurst College) during the Second World War. J.R.R. Tolkien spent much of his time writing, both at the guest house and in the College itself.

Walking the Trail

J. R. R. Tolkien was renowned for his love of nature and wooded landscapes and the countryside around Stonyhurst is richly beautiful. A number of names which occur in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ are similar to those found locally, including Shire Lane (in Hurst Green) and the River Shirebourn (similar to the name of the family which built Stonyhurst).

The ferry at Hacking Boat House (still working when J.R.R. Tolkien was here) may have provided the inspiration for the Buckleberry Ferry in the book, and the view from Tom Bombadil’s house may have been based on that from New Lodge, which is a Master’s house at nearby Stonyhurst College. Hacking Boat House is part of the Foxfields Farm estate.

You can expect to see plenty of stunning scenery whilst making your way around the Tolkien Trail, from the lush woodlands to the commanding presence of Pendle Hill in the distance and of course the lazy meanderings of the Rivers Hodder and Ribble that frame the route. Look out for the Jumbles Rocks – mentioned in the Doomsday Book!

The Tolkien Trail follows a circular route with plenty of flat terrain and easy pathways, so that it should be easy enough for all, although at just under six miles long it will take around 3 hours to complete.

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