North West

The Tolkien Trail, Lancashire

  • Distance

    6 miles

    Equivalent of walking up the Eiffel Tower 30 times

  • Duration

    3 hours

  • Difficulty


  • Terrain

    Grassy riverside paths, woodland and farm tracks

  • OS grid reference

    SD 684382

  • Calories burned


    The equivalent of 100g of almonds

Route Info

Believed to be the inspiration for JRR Tolkien’s famous Lord of the Rings trilogy, the 5-and-a-half-mile circular Tolkien Trail, which starts and finishes at the Shireburn Arms Hotel in Hurst Green, makes a wonderfully atmospheric walk.

The route skirts the boundary of Stonyhurst College, where Tolkien’s son, John, studied for his priesthood. It was here that Tolkien wrote the first drafts of his books, perhaps drawing on the rustic scenery as inspiration for his imaginary landscape of Middle Earth.

The gentle trail leads you past the misty Pendle Hill and 12th-century Clitheroe Castle, through woods and kissing gates, across streams and up on to ridges, along riverbanks and over stiles. All in all, this is a lazy and leisurely walk, but, sadly, you won’t stumble across any hobbits.

Kit List

  • Good walking boots or comfortable trainers
  • Warm jacket
  • Daysack
  • A map of Middle Earth!

Did you know?

A number of names which occur in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ are similar to those found locally, such as Shire Lane

Route Highlight

Look out for the River Hodder. In summer, the gnarly, overhanging trees create a nice shady spot to while away an hour or two.

Where to stop

Head to the Shireburn Arms Hotel (there’s that Lord of the Rings reference again!) for comfy accommodation and comforting food.