Aside from the trees, a valley lay at its center and the Withywindle river flowed through it. The Withywindle, as told in hobbit folklore, was the center of queerness in the vast queerness of the forest. At the south-eastern edge of the forest, on the bank of the river Withywindle, stood the house of Tom Bombadil - the only constructed dwelling in the forest. The home of Bombadil rested in a glade near the Withywindle--a sunny spot with green grass and bright trees. The pathway through the Old Forest known by the hobbits was near the bonfire grove, although when the company arrived there, it appeared to have shifted.
The southern edge of the forest consisted primarily of oak and ash, being much more dense than the pine and fir-filled north.
Before the Third Age
The Old Forest, along with Fangorn Forest, was all that remained of a vast and ancient primordial forest that once spanned nearly all of Eriador before the Second Age, and is one of the few forests that the Elves decided to wake and teach to speak. Beginning in the middle of the Second Age, the forest came under threat by the felling of trees by the Men of Middle-earth and of Númenor. Later, when Sauron declared war on the Elves, the havoc and destruction he and his troops created resulted in the near destruction of Eriador and the burning of much of the forest.
By the Third Age, the forest had become wild and dangerous and those that lived near it had to take precautions, particularly the Bucklanders, who built the High Hay to keep out wild creatures. Before the War of the Ring, Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin passed through the Old Forest on their way to Bree and were rescued by Tom Bombadil, after being trapped by Old Man Willow.
The Hobbits believed the trees of the Old Forest were in some manner "awake". They sway when there is no wind, whisper at night, and mislead and waylay travelers. In a notable incident, trees from the Old Forest moved right next to the protective hedge; the Hobbits in turn cut down and burned them in an enormous bonfire. Ever since then, the trees were more hostile --the Huorns. In any event, despite being an ancient and "awake" forest, no Ents tend to this woodland, and it seems to be avoided by Elves as well.
Portrayal in adaptations
- The Old Forest is depicted in the video games The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game) and The Lord of the Rings Online.
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Belarusian Cyrillic||Стары лес|
|Bulgarian Cyrillic||Старата гора|
|Chinese (Hong Kong)||老林|
|Danish||Den Gamle Skov|
|German||Der alte Wald|
|Haitian Creole||Vye Forè|
|Hausa||Tsohon Gandun daji|
|Hebrew||ה יער העתיק|
|Kazakh||Көне Орман (Cyrillic) Köne Orman (Latin)|
|Kurdish||Daristanê Kevn (Kurmanji Kurdish)|
|Kyrgyz Cyrillic||эски токой|
|Macedonian Cyrillic||Cтара шума|
|Maltese||Foresti ta ' l-Qadima|
|Mongolian Cyrillic||Хуучин ой|
|Northern Sami||Boares vuovdi|
|Old English||Weald gereord|
|Pashto||زاړه د ځنګل|
|Portuguese||Floresta Velha (Brazil)
Velha Floresta or Floresta Velha (Portugal)
|Scottish Gaelic||Seann Coille|
|Sesotho||Meru ea khale|
|Spanish (Spain and Latin America)||Bosque Viejo|
|Serbian||Стара Шума (Cyrillic) Stari Šuma (Latin)|
|Somalian||Duq ah Duur|
|Swahili||Msitu cha Kale|
|Tahitian||Uru raau Tahito|
|Tajik Cyrillic||сола ҷангал|
|Ukrainian Cyrillic||Старий ліс|
|Uzbek||Ески Ўрмон (Cyrillic) Eski O'rmon (Latin)|
Forests & Mountains:
The rest of Arda: