Historic Sarehole Mill, now part of the Birmingham suburb of Hall Green, stands only a few hundred yards from JRR Tolkien’s home in what was then the village of Sarehole. The site together with the surrounding area including the nearby Moseley Bog gave the inspiration for “The Shire” – home of the Hobbits.
Tolkien and his brother spent many hours at the property, often being chased by the Miller’s Son.
Tolkien regarded the buildings and surrounding area as countryside with no trace of industry, but in fact, somewhat ironically, the property had previously been rented to Matthew Boulton one of the leading local pioneers of the Industrial Revolution who used it for metal rolling. By the time Tolkien knew the building, it had reverted to the milling of corn.
The site is one of the last two water mills to survive in the area, (the other being New Hall Mill in Walmley, Sutton Coldfield)and can be visited as it is administered by Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery as a Community Museum (Along with Blakesley Hall, Aston Hall – which is closed for refurbished during 2008 but occasionally open for public scrutiny of progress, Soho House, Weoley Castle and The museum of the Jewellery Quarter. More details are available at the Museum web site)
The museum is open from 21 March to 2 November Tuesday to Sunday 11.30am - 4pm. Closed - Mondays except Bank Holidays.
Entrance is free.
The mill stands on the banks of the River Cole, although, the mill is powered by water from Coldbath Brook and the present buildings date back to 1768, though there has been a mill on the site for 460 years.
JRR Tolkein and the Tolkien Trail
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The blue line shows the walk between Moseley Bog on the left, to Sarehole Mill on the right - avoiding the road.
The Tolkien's lived in Wake Green Road.
It is possible to park in Pensby Close, and there is a free car park at Sarehole Mill.
There are a tea room and toilet facilities at the Mill.