The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien


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  • Updated 18 June 2009
  • Updates planned: 2

Great West Road

The westward road out of Minas Tirith

An ancient road made by the Dúnedain in the earliest days of the Two Kingdoms to join the great fortresses of their realms. It survived through the Third Age, though by the closing years of that Age its northern reaches had become overgrown. It was known as the Great West Road (or simply the 'West Road') from its beginnings at Minas Tirith to approximately the point where it reached the Fords of Isen and began to turn northwards. After that it was referred to as the North-South Road, or (in its decaying northern reaches) the Greenway.

The road started at the Great Gate of MInas Tirith, and from there led northwards across the Pelennor until it passed through the wall of the Rammas Echor. From there it turned northwestwards, skirting the foothills of the White Mountains as it ran through Anórien. In the Firien Wood it passed through a deep cutting, and where it emerged from the trees it crossed a bridge that spanned the Mering Stream. In the days when the road was made, that bridge marked the entry into the province of Calenardhon, but in later times it stood on the border of Rohan.

From there the road ran on westward, past Edoras to Helm's Deep, where it veered away from the Mountains and out into the green plain. Crossing the Isen at its Fords, it carried on through the Gap of Rohan and into Enedwaith. It was here that the road began to turn truly northwards, and became the North-South Road that led to ancient Arnor and the Northlands of Middle-earth.

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