The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Uncertain; may date back to the middle of the Second Age1
Location
Running west to east through the northern parts of Eriador
Settlements
Meaning
Given the name 'East Road' by the Shire-folk, who lived near its western end
Other names

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  • Updated 4 June 2014
  • Updates planned: 1

East Road

The road that led from the Shire out into Eriador

Encyclopedia of Arda Timeline
Years of the Trees First Age Second Age Third Age Fourth Age and Beyond
Map of the East Road
The route of the East Road2

The name used by the Shire-hobbits for the ancient road that led eastward through the Shire into the wilds of Eriador and beyond (although the Hobbits themselves rarely travelled farther on it than Bree).


Notes

1

We have no solid information about the time when the East Road was constructed, but the fact that it ran between the Grey Havens and Rivendell implies that the route was originally established in some form by the Elves, presumably at the time of Rivendell's founding (in II 1697) or not long thereafter.

After the establishment of the Kingdoms of the Dúnedain, numerous building projects were undertaken across Middle-earth, and we know that the great North-South Road was established at this time. The forces of the Last Alliance mustered at Rivendell, and it's established that the Dúnedain built bridges to help the movement of their troops in this period, so it seems plausible that the East Road may also have been reinforced and improved during the closing years of the Second Age.

Whatever the details of its first building, the road was three thousand years old or more at the time of the War of the Ring, though doubtless it had been repaired and maintained during that time, especially during the first two millennia of the Third Age when most of its length still fell within one of the realms of the Northern Dúnedain.

2

We know that the road extended westwards to the Grey Havens, but we have no detailed map showing the final stages of its route. Given the importance of the Tower Hills to the Elves, it seems likely that the road would have passed close by those hills, or perhaps a lesser roadway would have run southward from the main East Road to Elostirion and the other Elf-towers.

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