In the footsteps of Tolkien, explore his favourite haunts around Hurst Green
Start of walk:
|Hurst Green, BB7 9QJ, SD68526 37939|
|11km / 6.5m|
|90m / 300'|
|Hurst Green - Service 5|
JRR Tolkien wrote most of his novel ‘The Lord of the Rings’ from his base at Stonyhurst. Could Hobbiton be the village of Hurst Green? Was the River Shirebourne named after the Shireburn family who built the Stonyhurst Estate? Many comparisons have been speculated because Tolkien must have been greatly influenced by this landscape & without doubt some of the local names found their way into his novel. One of Tolkiens favourite walks was to the Hacking ferry crossing on the Ribble, by the old Hacking ferry is the early Jacobean Hacking Hall, built in 1607, incidentally, the ferry boathouse is now in Clitheroe Castle Museum.
The towered and turreted Stonyhurst College is almost mystical, both in its grandeur & its location, set among the green rolling hills, woodland & forest in the heart of the Ribble Valley. Along this walk, you will enjoy wonderful views of this most inspirational landscape.
But Hurst Green and its surrounding area is much more than an inspiration for ‘Middle Earth’, the landscape & politics for more than a century was dominated by the dynasty of successive Shireburn Lords of Stonyhurst, through ambitious building projects & uncompromising loyalty to Roman Catholicism that only ceased when the male bloodline failed & the female heir died. The estate divided changing it forever. In 1794, Stonyhurst was placed in the hands of the Jesuit English College at Liege when it became a boarding school for catholic boys & is one of the foremost public schools in the country.
As you wander through this unspoilt landscape, you can experience a unique combination of iconic architecture set amongst a rural backdrop that links medieval England with the present day. We then follow the River Hodder crossing pastures where the view of Stonyhurst College is so symbolic, it stirs feelings and must have inspired Tolkien, it is one of my favourite views of Stonyhurst College.
The walk passes the ancient bridge across the Hodder, known as Cromwells Bridge before returning to Hurst Green through the Stonyhurst Estate.
Jumbles Rocks on the Ribble
casting a fly, River Ribble
the 'Old Bridge' by Lower Hodder Bridge
the River Hodder
Download the two page guide, it makes an excellent companion for your walk and includes a map of the walk, GPS readings and a written commentary of the route & points of interest.
Ordnance Survey Map - view & print OS Map.