|Bag end, home of Bilbo and Frodo (with nasturtium and comfrey)|
|Child size chair and a stack of firewood|
|Community garden with birdhouse|
I was quite charmed by Hobbiton, not so much by the round doors, but by the consistent attention to quaint detail. It feels like a cross between an historical village and a permaculture farm, all scaled down to child size. Hobbit extras were required to be 5 foot tall, just my height, so being on their the film set was a rare experience of not feeling too short for the world. Even the furniture and tools were to my scale, with practical little ladders scattered everywhere. It was also a welcome oasis of lush green abundance after a long drought.
|Little ladders come in handy for hobbit-sized folk|
There are no obvious anachronisms once the bus drops you off at the entrance to Hobbiton. In this version of Tolkien's pre-industrial arcadia everything is made by hand of natural materials (or appears to be); from the thatched roofs, fancy iron work, carved wooden facades, lead-light windows to the lush green turf and pretty pumpkins piled around.
|Punpkins in the Green Dragon|
|Hobbit hole facade with doorstep cottage garden|
|Million dollar fake tree on top of the hill, real trees in the foreground: pear grafted onto quince and apple both laden with unpicked fruit|
These tiny cottage gardens (which could be replicated in a tiny balcony or courtyard) are complemented by larger community gardens which really reminded me of favourite permaculture gardens I have known. They look like a pretty jumble of plants in polycultures, with great a diversity of not only edible but beneficial insect attracting flowers. These larger gardens are not renewed with pots and flats, but I could see succession planting evident everywhere. Patches of plants abutted in various stages of growth from seedlings to ready to harvest.
|bee and butterfly sharing pollen|
|Mill with row boat and fishing rod|
We got an hour or so to wander through Hobbiton, either at our own pace or following Aiden, our well informed guide. The tour finished at the Green Dragon pub, across a charming stone arch bridge next to the thatched and half timbered mill with working water wheel. There we supped a free cider served in beautiful hand thrown pottery mugs. Sitting by the (real) fire, we looked out across the mill pond, back to Hobbiton.
|Hobbiton across the mill pond|