Footsteps of Tolkein

  • Discover Tolkein’s inspiration
  • Where the Hodder meets the Ribble
  • View some lovely old buildings

JRR Tolkein stayed at and visited Stonyhurst College regularly as he was researching and writing the epic trilogy of the Lord of the Rings. As a visiting professor he gained access to the college and the grounds on frequent visits whilst during and after the 2nd World War he stayed in a guest house whilst visiting his son. The college towers, the mythology that surrounds nearby Pendle Hill and the woods and rivers of the grounds undoubtedly supplied much of the inspiration behind Middle Earth and I picked up the leaflet for the Tolkein Trail to see if I could get some feeling as to how he was thinking as he wondered the area.

Even as a great fan I could not really picture the inspirational scenes of the book aside from the long loop of the Ribble which could easily have been the inspiration behind the Brandybuck when Frodo and the gang were leaping to escape the Ringwraithes. The walk is a heritage trail and passes close by the college before heading off to the River Hodder and later the Ribble itself. Cromwell’s Bridge, Winkley Hall, Hacking Hall and the aqueduct, which passes over the Ribble outside Hurst Green, are passed at regular intervals and enliven this pleasant and interesting 1/2 day walk.

Recommend: If you never have, read Lord of the Rings (it won’t take you long)

Download GPX file

Tolkein Trail map

All maps are copyright of Where2Walk © 2020

OS Map: O/S 1.25,000. OL41 Forest of Bowland & Ribblesdale Buy Map
Start Point: SD 680380. Over 1/2 the walk is on the OL41 map but Hurst Green itself is missing. The start is opposite the Shireburn Arms at the War Memorial and taking the Warren Fold lane.
Height to Climb: 123ms (403 feet)
Terrain: The track around this walk is good and well used, even after rain most was still in good condition.
Eating & Drinking: The Shireburn Arms in Hurst Green is a fine place to eat or have a drink after the walk.
Similar Walks Nearby: Sawley & the River Ribble
A short climb up Longridge Fell
Fair Snape Fell
Places to Stay:


Spread Eagle, Sawley