THE TOLKIEN TRAIL
An account written by June Hutchinson of Beverley Trefoil Guild in East Yorkshire
Whilst on a mid-week Leisure Break at Waddow Hall, members of East Yorkshire guilds explored the 6 mile Tolkien Trail. JRR Tolkien had stayed in the area in the 1940’s when his eldest son, John was studying for the priesthood at Stoneyhurst College.
His love of the surrounding countryside inspired him to use places and features in The Lord of the Rings.
Starting in Hurst Green (Hobbiton) the walk leads across fields to Stoneyhurst College built by the Shireburn family in the 16th
Century – there are references to “Shirebourne” in the novel. Tolkien stayed at New Hall guest house (to become Tom Bombadril’s home) with views to Pendle Hill, noted for its association with witches and sorcery and possibly the inspiration for Middle Earth’s Misty Mountain. Further on we passed the college Observatory and St Mary’s Hall, formerly a seminary, and the nearby Garden Pavilions before entering woods and a long stretch of steps down to the River Hodder and the Lancashire/Yorkshire boundary. Although no longer in use, we paused to admire “Cromwell’s Bridge”, (Brandywine Bridge) which Cromwell was reputed to have crossed on his way from Skipton to the Battle of Preston in 1648. We continued along the bank of the Hodder passed Winkley Hall Farm to where the Hodder joins the Ribble and on to Hacking Hall where the nearby ferry (Buckleberry Ferry) once carried passengers across the Ribble. With a view of the magnificent early Christian Stone Cross to the north of us we continued our walk finishing with a steady climb back to Hurst Green and the Shireburn Arms – an excellent place to end the walk and partake of well-earned refreshments.
I hope other members enjoy the walk as much as we did. The Tolkien Trail leaflet can be downloaded at
I can thoroughly recommend staying at Waddow Hall. The accommodation and meals are excellent and the setting is beautiful.