The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Apparently deserted, or at least rarely used, by the late Third Age
A long valley running west to east between two arms at the eastern end of the Grey Mountains


About this entry:

  • Updated 8 March 2014
  • This entry is complete

Withered Heath

The Dragons’ breeding-ground

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Years of the Trees First Age Second Age Third Age Fourth Age and Beyond
Map of the Withered Heath

In the eastern part of their length, the Grey Mountains forked into two thin ranges, with a narrow valley between. On the floor of this long east-west valley between the mountains was a heath, but a heath burned and blackened by its inhabitants. This Withered Heath was famed and feared in the north of Middle-earth as the breeding-ground of the dragons. At one time they had infested the Grey Mountains and the lands beyond, and even in the closing decades of the Third Age, the dragon Smaug still terrorised the inhabitants of the north.

Smaug was the last of the great dragons, but we know that other lesser members of his kind remained, so perhaps these still occasionally returned to the Withered Heath to continue their race. However, in The Hobbit 1, An Unexpected Party, Thorin refers to the Withered Heath as the place 'where the great dragons bred', implying that it was deserted by III 2941 (the year Thorin spoke these words), or at least not frequented by dragons that could be described as 'great'.

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