Many areas in the UK claim to have inspired J.R.R Tolkien creation of middle earth but the author certainly spent a lot of his time at Stonyhurst College working on The Lord of the Rings during the Second World War.

Many have found connections with this landscape around the college and the 5.5 mile Tolkien Trail explores the Ribble Valley that may have inspired him. 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 River Shirebourn (similar to the family name which built Stonyhurst).

Whatever the direct links which J.R.R Tolkien used in his book, her certainly spent much of his time at Stonyhurst working on ‘Lord of the Rings in a classroom on the upper gallery of the College.

The five and a half mile Tolkien Trail explores the Ribble landscape that may have inspired him, starting and finishing at the Shireburn Arms in Hurst Green. Stay for the night or call in for a pint, though we can’t promise you’ll find the Hobbit’s favourite, Barliman’s Best, on tap.

Some say that the Shireburn name (local landowners) may have influenced the naming of the River Shirebourn in Lord of the Rings. Whatever the connection this historic 17th century inn is now a welcoming gastro pub, with stylish rooms and is also dog friendly so they get to explore ‘the shire’.