Visiting Bree: Following in the footsteps of JRR Tolkien
Bike Touring Highlight
Bike Touring Highlight (Segment)
MLK went for a bike ride.
February 27, 2021
Waking up to another day of sunshine, we decided to visit Brill to the west of Oxford. It is generally thought that Tolkien was inspired by this picturesque village to create Bree, which plays a central role in both "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings"Tolkien loved languages and he used the name Bree from "hill" in Brythonic, a Celtic language, referring to the fact that the village of Bree and the surrounding Bree-lands were centred around a large hill.Bree was the chief village in Bree-land in Middle-earth, east of The Shire and south of Fornost Erain. Bree-land was the only part of Middle-earth where Men and hobbits dwelt side by side. The hill was burrowed with hobbit-holes housing a large population of hobbits. In "The Hobbit", Bree is where Gandalf and Thorin met and discussed the problem of the Dragon Smaug in the Lonely Mountain. This led to the Quest of Erebor where Bilbo Baggins recovered the One Ring. This in turn set in motion the epic adventure of "The Lord of the Rings". In The Prancing Pony, the largest inn in Bree, Frodo Baggins met Strider (Aragorn in disguise) and was forced on the run by the Ringwraiths. During the War of the Ring, Bree fell on hard times but we learn that upon their return, Frodo and his companions assure the inhibitants that King Aragorn II will venture north to restore order and prosperity.On this sunny Saturday, we happily cycled east through many of the Seven Towns of Otmoor. Noke is still shielding the RSPB Otmoor Nature Reserve where we have observed the extraordinary winter murmurations (komoot.com/tour/295135249).We stopped at Borstall Tower, a 14th century moated gatehouse built by John de Haudlo in 1312 with beautiful gardens. We climbed up to Bree and enjoyed the spectacular views across the Shire from the windmill, which is a post mill dating from the 17th century (komoot.com/collection/967375). Descending into lush green pastures, we cycled past cute newborn lambs celebrating new beginnings before the sun set on a beautiful early spring day.
February 28, 2021
It is easy to imagine that Tolkien was indeed inspired here - beautiful!
March 1, 2021
Thank you! I have been tracing Tolkien around Oxford in quite a few tours, e.g. komoot.com/tour/264859622