Woodworking in the Shire

Hobbits are incredibly industrious people. They may like to drink a lot, smoke even more, and fireworks have a special appeal, but when it comes down to it, their skills in fashioning elaborate, even luxurious homes and other items as is needed by a farm-based society has to be admired.

And this skills is equally matched by the skilled craftsmen who created a copy of the most famous of Hobbit communities with a replica of The Shire.

Located on a farm on the coincidentally called Buckland Road near the small community of Matamata, this place is a work of art.

After the Lord of the Rings was filmed here, the place was about 50% destroyed as was the contract with the land owner, but fortuitously, bad weather prevented its complete demise. By the time the remainder was to be demolished, too much interest had been shown in the place, and instead it was turned into a tourist destination.

Now the contracts are in place, filming of The Hobbit has resulted in the place being completely rebuilt. And due to some other coincidences, filming at the location has been delayed until summer 2011, meaning I was able to take part in a tour of the location. Being a long-time fan of the books (having only read them 25 times!) and the movies, it was with great pleasure that I had a chance to have a look around.

What looks like it has been there for many, many years is in the most part around 12 months old, from newly cut timber, and it is with great skill, carving, and chemical treatment that has resulted in the many Hobbit holes and anciliary props looking so beautifully aged. Even the lichen and moss has been hand planted on the structures to replicate a feeling of age.

Due to the current films, I can’t show any of the hundreds of photos I took on the set, so you’ll just have to visit the site yourself (or see the two films when they come out, or watch the Lord of the Rings very closely!)

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