Spending a day exploring the English countryside is one of life’s simple joys and there’s a huge variety of locations to explore in the North West alone. Just over an hour’s drive away from Manchester but a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life is the village of Hurst Green which is known for its historic school Stonyhurst College.
The school has some significant literary links – Sherlock Holmes writer Arthur Conan Doyle studied there and Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien was a regular visitor as his son taught there.
Tolkien is said to have taken much inspiration from the local area for Middle Earth and there’s a stunning walk, the Tolkien Trail, allowing you to visit and explore the sites he saw. Standing and ending in Hurst Green, this walk takes features a variety of scenery including open fields (with views to Pendle Hill), woodland and a riverside stroll.
The walk itself isn’t too strenuous; it’s generally easy going and quite flat throughout so even those with a low level of fitness shouldn’t find it too challenging. It can be muddy in sections and it took us about 3 hours to complete – although we did stop for about 30 minutes beside the river.
You can download the walk guide from Visit Lancashire here and take a look at my photo guide to the walk below showcasing some of the sites found on the Tolkien Trail.