Sunday 1 February 2015

What would Bilbo make of Cornish 'hobbit hut'?

Published 29/11/2012 | 09:48

Now a small campsite in Cornwall is offering a 'Hobbit Hut' for rent (top).

A 'hobbit hut' stay at a campsite in Cornwall may not quite meet the expectations of Tolkien fans.

Everyone, it seems, wants to jump on The Hobbit bandwagon. With huge crowds reported in Wellington for the film’s premiere, desperate for a glimpse of Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood and Martin Freeman, the tourism opportunities seem obvious.

The New Zealand tourist board has launched a “Middle Earth” campaign, aimed at attracting visitors to the country where the film was shot, and Air New Zealand recently decorated one of its planes in a Hobbit-inspired livery.

Now a small campsite in Cornwall is seeking a piece of the action, offering a stay in a “hobbit hut” in the Cornish countryside. But whether or not visitors will truly feel they have entered the world of Bilbo is, perhaps, open to question.

The wooden hut, which is being promoted by the website Buyagift, is a stand-alone construction, not built into the earth as the homes of the Baggins, Gamgee and Took families were in the books of JRR Tolkien.

Hobbit homes are notable for their circular entrances, Tolkien wrote. At the beginning of The Hobbit, Bilbo’s home is described as having “a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle.”

While the colours of the hut in Cornwall may match those described by Tolkien, the shape of the doors suggest the construction was based on a loose interpretation of a hobbit abode.

The hut’s design also means those seeking the long tunnels described in Tolkien’s novels may be met with disappointment.

Perhaps the best comparison may be in the views. Tolkien’s hobbit houses tend to have “deep set round windows looking over his garden and the meadows beyond”, with the Cornish hut enjoying “a landscaped setting, overlooking a large pond.”

Certainly when it comes to bedtime, the sleeping arrangements will not quite be as experienced by Bilbo and company in the fictional world of The Shire. At the Cornish site, a “comfortable double futon” is being promised to visitors – although they are advised to bring their own sleeping bags.

Jolyon Attwooll

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