Typically, the day we chose to walk The Tolkien Trail dawned damp and grey, a Ribble Valley rainy day. 😐 These kind of drizzly conditions are always a hit with our labrador Hugo though, so we didn’t let them dampen our spirits. Waterproofs on, we set off on our trek through boggy fields, and some of the loveliest countryside in Lancashire, unfortunately obscured by rain clouds.
Writer J. R. R. Tolkien often stayed in the area. He was writing Lord of The Rings , whilst visiting his son who attended Stonyhurst College. He and his family regularly stopped in the grounds of this stately pile, which became a boarding school in 1794 . I have no doubt the author, when out walking in the surrounding woodland and river meadows , drew inspiration from the lush greenery and rolling hillsides of this unspoilt part of Lancashire.
We had with us a walking guide book which contained a map and instructions for our route. Unfortunately after parking in the pretty village of Hurst Green and walking up the long drive to Stonyhurst College, we came face to face with several Private No Entry signs. Aaagh what to do! It turns out the guide book was written in the nineties, when maybe you could walk right up to the front of the building. After much discussion we decided to chance it and follow the route as it is written. Luckily it was such a miserable day that there was nobody about to challenge us!
I didn’t manage to get very many photos of Stonyhurst, as I have to admit being a trespasser didn’t really help me on the photography front. 😗 Happilly we were soon back on track, heading through fields with Pendle Hill supposedly on our right, hidden in the clouds.
The rivers Hodder, Ribble and Calder can all be found in the locality. Perhaps they were the inspiration for the fictional rivers of Brandywine, Shirebourne and Withywindle.
A good portion of the walk is on the riverside and at one time a Boat House housed a ferrymen who would take travellers across the Ribble between Winkley Hall and Hacking Hall below. Soon the river Calder also joins the Ribble as it curves through the countryside.
In the distance we spied the glamping cabins of Hobbit Hill perched above the valley. I wondered if anyone was staying there and if they too would try out the Tolkien Trail. Check out their website for a more up-to-date version of the walking route.
Eventually the footpath passes through woodland again and then through a very muddy meadow , before we arrived back in Hurst Green. There are a couple of nice pubs in the village. One is called The Shireburn Arms and is named after the man who built Stonyhurst College and Cromwell Bridge, Sir Richard Shireburn.
Of course a good walk has to end with cake and I can heartily recommend Millie’s Café for a warm welcome and delicious food.
Thanks for joining me on The Tolkien Trail. 🙂
25 thoughts on “The Tolkien Trail On A Rainy Day.”
Looks like a really nice walk but I’d prefer to do it on a dry sunny day. Trespassing wouldn’t bother me either, fences and gates don’t stop me if I’m on a quest for a particular photo 🙂
Haha ! I can imagine you on a mission!
I think we will definitely do it again in better weather. Getting your wellies stuck in mud constantly is a great workout. 🙂
I remember several years ago I wanted to re-create a jigsaw puzzle picture of a Norfolk windmill, the place is a privately owned holiday let and directions to it aren’t widely known – I found it and went wandering round the grounds to get my photo when the tenants came out to ask me what I was doing, so I put my camera on full zoom to make it look the business and said I was a freelance photographer doing an online feature on Norfolk windmills and I’d already spoken to someone on the phone who said it was okay for me to be there as long as I kept to the paths – I got away with it and got my photo too! 🙂 🙂
Ahhh Naughty! Well done, though. X
It looks like it was a beautiful walk! Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for reading!
Fascinating. I’d no idea Tolkien had connections to this area.
I did but never really looked into it before. Its a beautiful area. Will try it again on a nicer day. 🙂
What an interesting trail, lovely photos – especially the ones of the roe deer and Cromwell Bridge. 😊
Thank you. Cromwell Bridge does get photographed alot by people. It was nice to see the deer. X
Lovely walk. David and I would have probaby got lost lol. Shame about the ‘no entry’ signs. It’s no fun feeling you are doing something wrong x
I know! I’m glad there was nobody about. It does sometimes officially open in the summer when the boarders have gone home. X
That weather looks what we would call “dreich”! Lovely walk all the same.
It definitely was “”dreich”! But enjoyed it anyway. Hugo’s fave weather. X
Good on yer for getting out there in such miserable weather, Shazza. 🙂 🙂 We took refuge in the Royal Armouries at Leeds on Easter Sunday. I’ll not tell about you trespassing, and I don’t suppose the owner reads my blog so you’ll be ok if I include this on Monday. 🙂
Haha thanks Jo. That would be great. 🙂
Oh I heart about this trail before and I wanted to do it but didn’t have time yet. I found a map on visitlancashire website.
My map was slightly out of date but yes I have seen the Visitlancashire one. I hope you get to do it! X
Looks lovely! Considering mum lives fairly closeby (between Liverpool & Southport) the Ribble Valley is not an area I know. I think I’ve been once, to Ribchester with school. I think I need to explore it with Mr FD next time we’re over visiting mum.
I think we get a little overlooked here. Hope you get to visit on your next trip. 😁
What a great walk! I love that old bridge. That’s another walk to add to the list, though I’ve never read (or watched) The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings and know very little about them! This reminds me, did you say in a recent post you’d never seen Star Wars – I think I forgot to say that I haven’t either, you’re not alone!!
You could try it next time your in the area. No I have not watched Star Wars. Thought I was the only one! I have seen the Lord of the Rings films though, but not The Hobbit. X
Loved the walk through the Shire, the Cromwell bridge is incredible.
It is a well photographed and painted part of the countryside round here. Glad you enjoyed the walk. 😁