The Old Forest was a large woodland on the eastern border of Buckland, located close to the Shire.

It was bordered in the east by the Barrow-downs and in the west by the High Hay, a large hedge which the hobbits of Buckland grew to protect their eastern border.


The Old Forest, like Fangorn, was described to be dark and tangled, though both were less so than the Taur-im-Duinath of Beleriand.[1]

Old Forest at night (in The Lord of the Rings Online)

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

Old Forest Road, by Ben Zweifel. ©Fantasy Flight Games and ©Middle-earth Enterprises

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.

Third Age

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.[2]


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

Map of the Old Forest in The Lord of the Rings Online

Video games


Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Ou Bos
Albanian Vjetër Pyll
Amharic የድሮ ደን
Arabic الغابة القديمة
Armenian հին անտառային
Azerbaijani Qoca Meşə
Basque Baso Zaharrak
Belarusian Cyrillic Стары лес
Bengali প্রাচীন বন
Bosnian Stara Šuma
Bulgarian Cyrillic Старата гора
Burmese အဟောငျးသစ်တော
Cambodian ព្រៃឈើចាស់
Catalan Bosc Vell
Cebuano Daang lasang
Chinese (Hong Kong) 老林
Corsican Anticu Foresta
Croatian Stare šume
Czech Starý Les
Danish Den Gamle Skov
Dutch Oude Bos
Estonian Vana mets
Faroese Gamla Skógur
French Vieille Forêt
Filipino Lumang Gubat
Finnish Vanha Metsä
Galician Bosque Vella
Georgian ძველი ტყე
German Der alte Wald
Greek Παλιό δάσος
Gujarati જૂના જંગલોમાં
Haitian Creole Vye Forè
Hausa Tsohon Gandun daji
Hawaiian Kahiko Nahele
Hebrew ה יער העתיק
Hindi पुराने जंगल
Hungarian Öregerdő
Icelandic Gamall Skógur
Indonesian Hutan Lama
Irish Gaelic Sean-Foraoise
Italian Vecchia Foresta
Japanese オールドフォレスト
Javanese Alas Lawas
Kannada ಹಳೆಯ ಅರಣ್ಯ
Kazakh Көне Орман (Cyrillic) Köne Orman (Latin)
Korean 오래된 숲
Kurdish Daristanê Kevn (Kurmanji Kurdish)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic эски токой
Laotian ປ່າໄມ້ເກົ່າ
Latin Silva Vetus
Latvian Vecs Mežs
Lithuanian Senas miškas
Macedonian Cyrillic Cтара шума
Malagasy Ala Taloha
Malaysian Tua Hutan
Malayalam പഴയ ഫോറസ്റ്റ്
Maltese Foresti ta ' l-Qadima
Maori Ngahere Tawhito
Marathi जुन्या वन
Mongolian Cyrillic хуучин Ойн
Nahuatl Huehcāuh Cuauhtlah
Nepalese पुरानो वन
Northern Sami Boares vuovdi
Norwegian Gamleskogen
Old English Weald gereord
Pashto زاړه د ځنګل
Persian جنگل قدیمی
Polish Stary Las
Portuguese Floresta Velha (Brazil)

Velha Floresta or Floresta Velha (Portugal)

Punjabi ਪੁਰਾਣਾ ਜੰਗਲਾਤ
Scottish Gaelic Seann Coille
Sesotho Meru ea khale
Shona Yekare Dondo
Sindhi قديم ٻيلو
Spanish (Spain and Latin America) Bosque Viejo
Swedish Gammal Skog

Gamla Skogen

Romanian Pădurea Bătrână
Romansh Vegl Guaud
Russian Старый лес
Samoan Vaomatua Tuai
Serbian Стара Шума (Cyrillic) Stari Šuma (Latin)
Sinhalese පරණ වන
Slovak Starý les
Somalian Duq ah Duur
Swahili Msitu cha Kale
Swedish Gamla Skogen
Tagalog Lumang Gubat
Tahitian Uru raau Tahito
Tajik Cyrillic сола ҷангал
Tamil பழைய வன
Thai ป่าดึกดำบรรพ์
Turkish Yaşlı Orman
Turkmen Köne Tokaý
Ukrainian Cyrillic Старий ліс
Urdu پرانے جنگل
Uzbek Ески Ўрмон (Cyrillic) Eski O'rmon (Latin)
Vietnamese Rừng Cũ
Welsh Hen Goedwig
Xhosa Ihlathi Elidala
Yiddish אַלט וואַלד
Yoruba Atijọ Aginju
Places of Middle-earth and Arda

Middle-earth Locations:


Dunland | Ithilien | Rohan | Arnor | Ettenmoors | Gondor | Lindon | Minhiriath | Rhûn | The Shire | Mordor | Harad | Forochel

Forests & Mountains:

Amon Dîn | Amon Hen | Amon Lhaw | Caradhras | Emyn Muil | Erebor | Fangorn Forest | High Pass | Iron Hills | Lórien | Mirkwood | Mount Doom | Old Forest | Tower Hills | Weather Hills


Angband | Barad-dûr | Bree | Caras Galadhon | Dol Guldur | Fornost | Hornburg | Isengard | Minas Morgul | Minas Tirith | Orthanc | Osgiliath | Rivendell | Umbar | Utumno


Cair Andros | Gap of Rohan | Grey Havens | Buckland | Enedwaith | Dagorlad | Dead Marshes | Fords of Isen | Weathertop | Argonath

The rest of Arda:

Númenor | Dark Land | Aman | Valinor | Tol Eressëa


  1. The Atlas of Middle-earth, Thematic Maps, "Vegetation"
  2. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, Chapter VI: "The Old Forest"
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