Middle Earth fans know that the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies were filmed in New Zealand. But the green and pleasant shire appearing in this 2012 poster for the film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is not a view from the NZ Hobbiton movie set but is actually a real life location in Northumberland, England.
The poster has been enhanced with some computer-generated imagery but behind Gandalf you can clearly make out the ruined outline of Edlingham Castle and a railway viaduct of the old Wooler to Alnwick line, disused for more than half a century.
As a comparison, I took this photo recently from a layby on the B6341 just below a rocky hilltop called Corby Crags near Alnwick. You could imagine Bilbo Baggins and friends feeling at home in this tranquil countryside.
Nearby Alnwick Castle was the filming location for a number of the Hogwarts scenes in the Harry Potter films so this scenic corner of Northumberland has a lot to offer lovers of the modern fantasy genre.
Edlingham Castle itself is well worth a closer inspection.
This stone manor house dates from around 1250 and was extended and fortified over the centuries to defend against raids by Border Reivers. The castle was abandoned in the mid 1600s and much of the stone was removed for use in other buildings.
Most of what remains is the living quarters (known as the Solar House) and the foundations of the curtain walls, the kitchen block, the gatehouse and barbican.
Next door to the castle is the medieval church of St. John the Baptist where one of the castle’s early owners, William de Felton, lies buried. The church tower was also built in the style of a fort to defend the occupants from the constant Anglo-Scottish skirmishes which plagued these borderlands from 1300-1600s.
The railway viaduct behind the castle was built in the 1880s and it is likely that much of the stone used in its construction was ‘borrowed’ from the castle.
How to Get to Edlingham Castle
The location is marked on this map:
B6341, Edlingham, Alnwick NE66 2BW
GPS / Co-ordinates:
Any reasonable time during daylight hours.
The Alnwick Garden