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'.
For acknowledgements and references, see the Disclaimer & Bibliography page.
Website services kindly sponsored by Axiom Software Ltd.
Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 2003, 2014. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.