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Suffolk's Real Middle Earth

Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fans may not realise that Suffolk, and more specifically West Stow Anglo Saxon Village plays an important role in Tolkien's tales.

Tolkien was a Professor of Old English/Anglo-Saxon and Middle English language and literature, and this literature, particularly Beowulf, influenced his own writings. He also based the people of Rohan, the Rohirrim, on the historical Anglo-Saxons, giving them Anglo-Saxon names, customs, and poetry.Another major influence on Tolkien is riddle poetry from Anglo-Saxon England. Some of the oldest surviving Old English manuscripts contain riddle poems, such as the Leiden Riddle the which is demonstrated during the contest between Bilbo and Gollum in The Lord of the Rings.


During the early Anglo Saxon period, West Stow was the site of a small village made up of timber buildings. Archaeological excavation of the site unearthed evidence for a variety of different structures including 69 sunken-featured buildings; inspiring the 'Hobbit House', home to Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. 

Now, thanks to Arnor Heritage Projects, Tolkien's works are being brought to life at West Stow, with a range of 'Middle Earth Adventures.' Run by Alan Baxter, a Heritage Consultant specialising in archery and The Lord of the Rings, there are 4 experiences on offer:

The Real Middle-earth tour

2 hour guided tour of the Anglo-Saxon Village by a member of the Tolkien society and Middle-earth enthusiast explaining the many links between Tolkien and the Anglo-Saxons. The tour includes a Riddle Battle and a visit to the set of the ‘Born of Hope’ fan film.

Born of Hope is an award winning fan film and independent Lord of the Rings prequel which has been seen online by millions of people worldwide and was filmed at West Stow Anglo Saxon Village. It shows how Aragorn was born in a village just like West Stow! 

Ranger of the North Archery experience

Try your hand at archery with a longbow like the Rangers of Ithilien and be guided by a qualified archery instructor and Middle Earth enthusiast. 

Pod Hollow visit

Book a visit to the the Tolkien inspired Pod Hollow at West Stow Pods and enjoy a visit from a member of the Tolkien society and Middle-earth enthusiast. Your visit can include a quiz, 'Talking Tolkien' or 'Tolkien and the Anglo-Saxons' talks, a viewing of the 'Born of Hope' film, riddle battle and photo opportunities with lifesize cut outs. 

The Middle-earth Adventure

Halbarad the Ranger, a costumed character from The Lord of the Rings will be your guide on this tour of the Anglo-Saxon Village. Your guide will explain the many links between Tolkien and the Anglo-Saxons. The tour also includes a riddle battle, ranger archery, a visit to the set of ‘Born of Hope', and movie replica handling activities.                            

For die hard enthusiasts, why not book a stay in the Pod Hollow at West Stow Pods! 

This a halfling-inspired subterranean dwelling draws it's inspiration from the Hobbit House, which was itself inspired by the sunken featured buildings at West Stow Anglo Saxon Village. Built into a grassy knoll, the Pod Hollow has two double bedrooms, a sitting room, and kitchen - the perfect accommodation for budding hairy-footed, halfling guests! 

“I feel that as long as the Shire lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable: I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings.