|7am: the Alexander's Farm at Buckland, Matamata.|
Just outside Matamata, in the small hamlet of Buckland lies the Alexander's 12,000 acre sheep farm. It is owned by 3 brothers; Russell, who helps out on the tour coach, Craig the sheep farmer and another who has a sheep farm elsewhere. All sounds very much like Riverford so far. It's blindingly beautiful in a rumpy pumpy Devon kind of way and is free of mobile masts, agricultural silos and herbacious borders. Peter Jackson, apparently found this place on an aerial reckee and kept it along with 2 other "hobbtions" early on in the making of LOTR. Eventually, he realised that he had eveything he needed right here, and broke the news to the other two land owners that their hobbitons were surplus to requirements.
I did, kind of want the guide to show us around, with the added challenge of never mentioning the word "hobbit" or "Lord of the Rings" as a kind of dare, but of course I would be a fool of a took to think that could ever be.
Past visitors have included, a group of "elves" who danced non-stop on the lawn under the party tree, a 7ft hobbit ever who spoke elvish, sat under the party tree and read LOTR all day. He refused to budge until they moved him onto the last bus of the day.
In the café there was an interesting panoramaic photo of farm with architect’s film overlaid and a drawing of hobbiton as it was originally presented to the Alexander family.
|Bear admiring the spray-on lichen which led to a discussion about whether real lichen would grow on top of the fake stuff one day. Probably.|
|These are the fingermen's huts that until recently had fish hanging outside them.|
|Don't sit on the props or all hell will break loose.|
|Folksy iconography on the rustic see-saw. The emeraldy green tree is an Oak imposter!|
|A lovely curvaceous stile. We might just have to make one for real back home in Devon.|
Lovely planting: berrberris, lavender, rosemary, jasmine, nasturtiums and willow hurdles.
|Yes, it does look like some of those houses on the way to Buckfastleigh - without the carved wooden bears.|
|The people I asked to get out of shot in all the other pictures!|
|Hobbiton Fact: it is all held together with expanding foam.|
|We've come from Devon to rightly claim our Hobbit Hole. Merry, Pippin, Flippin, Rippin et al.|
|One of the few Hobbit holes where the door opens.|
|Actually, quite a nice, naturally weathered sculpture of Gollom.|