I am back to my training this week and this post is all about my journey to “Middle Earth”. Well, not literally…
So I have recently decided to step up my training and to do one big walk every week. By big walk I mean around 10 km and make it a bit of a challenging one. As I am a novice walker and I have no clue where the best trails are, on this particular Saturday morning I asked the old friend Google to suggest a walk for me. My keywords were “circular walk, trail with steps” and one of the routes that popped up was the J.R.R Tolkien trail in Hurst Green, around 9 miles from Preston. I have to admit I am not a big Tolkien fan but I have seen one or two Lord of the Rings films so I was intrigued why the connection was there. I printed off a very informative leaflet detailing the route with all the landmarks and their history and most importantly there were stairs! If you like history, nature and Tolkien scenery this 3 hour route is for you.
The walk takes you along the trail that J.R.R Tolkien walked himself to get inspiration for his Lord of the Rings and Hobbit books. I found out that he was a frequent visitor to Stonyhurst College where his son studied and he himself was a guest. It is a very impressive building with beautiful and tranquil gardens and amazing views to Pendle Hill.
Now, back to the walk… I was a bit apprehensive to start with as I was walking on my own and had just a leaflet with directions and my Iphone maps to guide me through. It can’t be that difficult though, right? Well, it did not start well as I could not find the start of the trail. Luckily, I spotted a few walkers and decided to follow them praying they don’t stop before I find my feet.
The route is very versatile. I am not surprised Tolkien found so much inspiration from this walk. I passed the old turrets of Stonyhurst, made my way through the dense greenery of the woods, up and down the steep stairs, through the wooden bridges. My favourite part was walking along the brown coloured river Hodder (more like Hodor from The Game of Thrones to me) with its cascading waters and pebbled beaches. It would make a lovely stop for a picnic or a bit of chill time.
The End is Nigh
The route was pretty busy. There were proper walkers, dog walkers and just weekend ramblers like me. It is a long walk but so worth sacrificing half the day to complete it. After a few more landmarks like the old Cromwell Bridge, the pig farm and the aqueduct, the trail finishes on the Shireburn Arms pub where you can stop for a roast or a pint of cold beer or like me replenish the lost calories with an ice cream from a local farm. I did extend my walk by following a long and straight road to Stonyhurst as I had never visited it before and it was so worth it. I was quite pleased with my progress as my Fitbit recorded over 25000 steps and the whole trek was over 15km so I was on the right track with my training.
I would definitely recommend this walk whether you are a Tolkien fan or not. It provides the scenery, the miles, the gradient, the noises of nature and sore muscles the next day. If you have any suggestions for a challenging walk, please leave a comment or tweet me. Till the next time! And if you can support my chosen charity, the link is in the top right corner – Thanks!