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April 15, 2002

The Inspiration for Buckleberry Ferry
Press Release

The recent publicity surrounding the claims that the Ribble Valley landscape inspired J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, has uncovered further evidence to support this theory.

In J.R.R. Tolkien's work, 'The Lord of the Rings:The Fellowship of the Ring', the central characters, Frodo, Sam and Pippin flee the relative safety of The Shire pursued by the deadly 'Ringwraiths' (or Blackriders). The only immediate escape route for the heroes is via the 'Buckleberry Ferry' across the river to 'The Old Forest'. This scene is graphically depicted in Peter Jackson's film adaptation.

As recently documented, the geographical locations and place names used by J.R.R. Tolkien directly correspond with the locations and names surrounding Hurst Green.

One of J.R.R. Tolkien's favourite walks when visiting the Ribble Valley was down by the River Ribble. He would walk along to the spot where a passenger ferry used to cross the Ribble, at the point where it is joined by two other rivers - the Calder and the Hodder. The Hacking passenger ferry was in full operation during the time of J.R.R.Tolkien's frequent visits to the Ribble Valley, and operated until the nineteen fifties (see enclosed photograph of Hacking passenger ferry over the river Ribble in the 1940's). The ferry can still be seen in Clitheroe Castle Museum.

There seems little doubt that the passenger ferry at Hacking Hall was the inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien's 'Buckleberry Ferry'.

Plans to develop a 'Tolkien Trail' around the Ribble Valley are well under way. Jonathan Hewat, Ribble Valley Tourism and Heritage Trust for the North West are devising the trail, incorporating the locations J.R.R. Tolkien may have used as inspiration for his map of Middle-earth.

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