Steve has spent over 10 years researching the settings Professor Tolkien turned from reality in the Shire counties into fantasy fiction. It is the map reversal that serves as the true inspiration for these well known and much acclaimed works, translated into virtually every language worldwide. The Lord of the Rings is the biggest selling book of the 20th century.
By reversing the Map of the Shire and looking at it back to front, Steve has identified the Cotswolds and many other parts of the Four Shires (Worcester-, Gloucester-, Oxford-, Warwick-, ) marked on the stone just outside Moreton-in-Marsh, and used by Professor J. R. R. Tolkien as his model for the Three Farthings Stone in Lord of the Rings. This is just one of countless secrets of geography hidden in the epic story.
The Cotswold connections include Chipping Norton (Hobbiton), Moreton in Marsh (Bree), Meon Hill (Weathertop), Bredon Hill (Trollshaws), and the Malvern Hills (Misty Mountains), with Great Malvern very clearly mapped for Rivendell, all places of the Shire in Tolkien’s works.
Tolkien followers will recall Archet (Chipping Campden), Combe (Blockley), and Staddle (Stow-on- the-Wold) of Breeland, indeed all in the vicinity of Moreton.
Over the Welsh border, we have the Wye Valley about Tintern for Lothlorien and The Forest of Dean for Fangorn Forest.
Steve’s journey in fact extends down into Continental Europe, through Northern France (via Cair Andros, Paris), over the Pyrenees (Ered Nimrais) and through Rome (Minas Tirith) onwards to Mordor…. where lie the shadows….in Germany.