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On the Water near the village of Bywater in the Westfarthing of the Shire
Fed by the Water flowing from the west, and another unnamed stream flowing down from the Northfarthing
The Water flowed on eastward from the Pool
Named for the village Bywater, which was in turn named for the fact that it was 'by the Water'
Other names
Often abbreviated to simply 'the Pool'


About this entry:

  • Updated 19 July 2023
  • This entry is complete

Bywater Pool

A small lake in the Water

Map of Bywater Pool

A wide1 pool on the course of the small river, the Water, that ran eastward through the Shire. The pool formed at the place where a tributary of the Water flowed down out the Northfarthing to join the main stream, just within the borders of the Westfarthing. From the eastern end of Bywater Pool, the Water continued its course eastward, eventually to reach the Brandywine on the borders of the Shire.

After the settlement of the Shire, the Hobbits established a village on banks of the pool and beside the river. This village by the Water they naturally named 'Bywater', and from this name the pool in turn became known as Bywater Pool (or, to the locals, simply 'the Pool'). The main village extended to the south of Bywater Pool, but along its northern banks were a row of old Hobbit-holes with gardens running down to the Pool's banks.

Along its southern shore, the road ran northwestward from Bywater toward nearby Hobbiton, and along this stretch (known as 'Pool Side'), the Hobbits raised an avenue of trees. This road was well used by travellers to and from Hobbiton. For example, Gandalf drove his cart beside Bywater Pool as he travelled to see Bilbo Baggins before his famous Birthday Party, and years later the same road was used by Frodo Baggins and his companions as they left Bag End to set out from the Shire.

Throughout most of the history of the Shire, Bywater Pool was a pleasant and peaceful place, and Sam Gamgee had childhood memories of playing in its shallows with the children of the Cotton family. This changed at the time of the War of the Ring, after the ascension of Lotho Sackville-Baggins to power in the Shire, and later of Sharkey. During this period, the Hobbit-holes along the Pool's banks were left deserted and fell into ruin, and the trees that lined the road on its southern side were cut down by the ruffians who now controlled the Shire.

Led by the returning Travellers, the Hobbits reclaimed their land at the Battle of Bywater, fought on the Bywater Road just southward of Bywater Pool. Afterward, Sam Gamgee used the potent earth he had been given by Galadriel to help replant the trees of the Shire, and sapling were soon growing along Pool Side to replace the avenue destroyed by Sharkey's Men. It was along this road that Sam rode in III 3021, after watching the White Ship depart from the Grey Havens, and so he passed the waters of Bywater Pool as he returned to Bag End at the end of his adventures.



The dimensions of Bywater Pool are not described in any detail. If we take the scale on the Shire map absolutely literally, then the Pool was approximately two miles long and a mile wide. This seems excessive (making it rather more of a lake than a pool) and we can probably assume that its size is exaggerated on the map for clarity. From the southern banks of the Pool, it was possible to see the Hobbit-holes on the northern bank in some detail, which suggests a width rather smaller than the mile or so suggested by a literal reading of the Shire map.


About this entry:

  • Updated 19 July 2023
  • This entry is complete

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