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Uncertain, but presumably built by the Hobbits, probably after the settlement of Buckland in III 2340 (740 by the Shire-reckoning)
Above the Windle-reach on the river Withywindle as it ran through the Old Forest
Probably1 Hobbits
Probably Bucklanders
Above the village of Breredon
The Withywindle flowed out of the Barrow-downs and through the Old Forest
The Withywindle flowed into the Brandywine some miles below the weir
Withy literally means 'willow', but is here probably an abbreviation of 'Withywindle'; a 'weir' is a small dam across a river


About this entry:

  • Updated 14 November 2018
  • This entry is complete


The weir on the Withywindle

Map of the Withy-weir
Map of the Withy-weir (partially conjectural)
Map of the Withy-weir (partially conjectural)

Across the river Withywindle, some distance to the north of Grindwall, a weir or small dam had been built across the river. The water rushed down over the weir and into a stretch known as the Windle-reach, and from there flowed on past the landing at Grindwall, down past Haysend and into the Brandywine.

According to the poem "Bombadil Goes Boating", Tom Bombadil crossed the Withy-weir in his boat on at least one occasion. Passing the weir while travelling downstream was relatively simple: his boat was carried over the dam by the rushing river water and sent spinning downstream along the Windle-reach. How Tom made his way back over the weir was more mysterious: according to the lore of the Hobbits who lived nearby, he called on helpful otters to carry his boat back over the dam.



We're given no hint as to who constructed the weir across the Withywindle, but we do know that Hobbits lived downriver in the nearby village of Breredon, just outside the Hedge that marked the eastern border of Buckland. These had most likely descended from the first settlers of Buckland, who arrived there in III 2340, but given their village's location, they might plausibly have settled on the Withywindle directly from the Shire. In that case the weir might have been older, though it nonetheless seems unlikely to have predated the founding of the Shire in III 1601.

See also...



About this entry:

  • Updated 14 November 2018
  • This entry is complete

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