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.