365 great things about Staffordshire - The incredible Kinver Edge Rock Houses - The original Hobbit holes?
At Kinver Edge, in South Staffordshire, built mysteriously into the sandstone rock, are a series of quirky rock houses. Dubbed a ‘hidden gem’ of the UK after travellers named them one of their must-visit destinations.
Rumoured to be inspiration for the 'Hobbit Houses' in Tolkiens famous books, (he lived nearby), these houses have now been restored so you can soak up the atmosphere of these unusual homes with crackling fires, objects to play with, and volunteers ready to share anecdotes of the families that lived there until as recently as the 1960s.
You might even spot one of the lesser horseshoe bats that now call these caves home, roosting here throughout the winter months and sometimes hanging from the rock house ceilings.
The houses are fascinating for their unusual construction, and from the exposed rock of the empty houses you will be able to see how they are carved straight into the richly coloured sandstone, along with some historic graffiti.
Wandering into the gardens around the houses you’ll find a quaint heritage orchard and working allotments, and plenty of shady spots for a picnic or just to sit and enjoy the spring bulbs.
Exploring Kinver Edge
Beyond is the wider countryside of Kinver Edge, you can discover the buzz of wildlife on the heathland, enjoy the heady scent of gorse in spring and sweeping purple of heather in autumn.
Just ten minutes stomp uphill from the rock houses is the site of an impressive Iron Age Hill Fort, with spectacular views of surrounding counties, and from there you can continue waymarked trails into the woodland of the lower slopes.
There is colour and life year-round, and room to run and play…kites fly well on the top of the Edge, and there are natural play areas for kids along the paths.
Opening times and more about Kinver Edge is displayed on the National Trust's website
Holy Austin Rock Houses, Compton Road, Kinver, near Stourbridge, Staffordshire, DY7 6DL
Parking: is free lay-by parking, on Compton Road for the Rock Houses, or on Comber Road for the wider countryside of the Edge. SatNav: use postcode DY7 6DL to arrive at the Rock Houses
The rock houses are a 15 minute walk away from Kinver village. You can also walk up on to Kinver Edge from Kingswood to the southwest.
National Cycle Network route 54 is 5 miles away at Stourbridge and 8 miles away at Kidderminster. Canal towpaths link to Kinver from both towns. A variety of bridleways enable off-road cycling through this area too
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