Happy Hobbit! There and Back Again around Sarehole Mill
It’s December 13! Which means it’s time to celebrate the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey today, as well as drink to all things small with hairy feet (raises hand).
Being hobbitlike ideally involves singing rosily-cheeked in a darkened tavern, but we also like the suggestions from these Birmingham folk on following their local stretch of the Tolkien Trail, starting at Sarehole Mill where Tolkien played as a child.
Sarehole and its surrounding countryside was the inspiration for Hobbiton and The Shire, with a young Tolkien and his brother regularly chased away from playing in the mill by the miller’s son, nicknamed the White Ogre - we had similar figures in our non-mill childhood too.
From the mill, hairy-footed enthusiasts can follow the rest of the Tolkien Trail , including Tolkien’s former school, church and home, and Moseley Bog, which inspired the Old Forest, home of Tom Bombadil and where the daft hobbits got lost in The Fellowship of the Ring.
Sarehole Mill closes over winter, but there are Tolkien events at it throughout its opening season, and occasional guided walks in winter; more info here.
To pitch up in Tolkien country, Somers Wood Caravan Park is eight miles away from Sarehole Mill and is a five-star adults-only park with electric pitches for tourers, campervans and motorhomes starting from £19. Or to truly feel hobbitlike, book a camping pod at Wootton Park twelve miles away at Henley-in-Arden; the wool-insluated pods here come fully equipped with bedding, towels, bathrobe, tea-making facilities and even a hair-dryer to dry off your toes. Pods start from £72 a night.
And if you’re feeling literary in general (yes, The Hobbit was a book first), you can find out about all things British and bookish in our bookworm’s trail of Britain blog , with more things Tolkien as well as details on Dickens, Dracula, Dahl and more. Meanwhile, we’re off to the cinema.
First written December 2012, updated December 2014.