The Moseley Bog is part of JRR Tolkien's youth, it is where he and his brother played as children, and formed part of his inspiration for “The Shire”, home of the Hobbits. The Bog is now a nature reserve, not many yards from Sarehole Mill in what is now a part of the Birmingham suburb of Hall Green.

The Cole Bath Brook flows through the reserve on its way to top up the Millpond of Sarehole Mill. Originally, the Bog was a reservoir holding back water to be released to the Millpond, the former was drained around 1850 but never fully dried out leaving the Bog.

There are raised paths provided, but good footwear is preferable when exploring.

The Moseley Bog is the site of two mounds dating back to the Bronze Age and containing heat-shattered stones, the exact reason for these is not known, two theories being either that water was heated for domestic purposes by dropping in hot stones, or else to create steam to make sweat rooms, similar to those used by North American Indians.

There was plenty to keep the Tolkien children amused, in an interview for the Guardian in later years Tolkien said

“It was a kind of lost paradise, there was an old mill that really did grind corn with two millers, a great big pond with swans on it, a sandpit, a wonderful dell with flowers, a few old-fashioned village houses and, further away, a stream with another mill. I always knew it would go - and it did.”

We are lucky that local residents led a “Save our Bog” campaign otherwise it would have been lost for ever to housing development. Tolkien contributed in 1960 to a public appeal to save Sarehole Mill from destruction and both The Bog and The Mill are now available to enjoy free of charge. Although, if you want a close look at the millpond – you might have to ask a member of staff to unlock the gate! The Moseley Bog

Return from The Moseley Bog to 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.
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