The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Running southwestwards through the Old Forest
Rose in the higher ground north of the Forest, above the house of Tom Bombadil
Into the Baranduin at the southern end of Buckland, above Deephallow


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  • Updated 4 May 2008
  • Updates planned: 1

River Withywindle

The river that flowed through the Old Forest

A minor tributary of the River Baranduin or Brandywine. It rose above the house of Tom Bombadil and flowed approximately southwest to cut a valley through the trees of the Old Forest, before it met the Brandywine at Haysend near the southern edge of the forest.

Old Man Willow grew on the banks of the river, and through his malicious power the valley of the Withywindle was the most dangerous part of the Old Forest. Through his power over the trees, the Great Willow would draw unwary travellers to his domain on the banks of the Withywindle.



The name includes the old word withy, meaning 'willow'. The -windle element derives from wendel, which does not actually occur historically, but is used by Tolkien in various Old English river-names (for example, the Old English name for the River Sirion was Scírwendel, 'bright-winding'). The name of the river was apparently suggested by withywind, an old name for the tangling, climbing plant more commonly known as bindweed.

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