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Last Updated: Wednesday January 05 2005 11:55 GMT

Tolkien's real-life Shire renamed

Hobbits live in The Shire
A nature reserve which helped inspire JRR Tolkien to write his fantasy novels is being renamed in his honour.

The Millstream Project, in Birmingham, will now be called The Shire Country Park. In Tolkien's books, The Shire is the pretty place where hobbits live.

Tolkien was born in South Africa in 1892, but moved to Birmingham when he was three. The reserve was one of the author's childhood playgrounds.

The hugely successful Lord Of The Rings films were based on his books.

"The Shire Country Park will help raise the awareness of Tolkien's close ties with the city," said a spokesman for the local council.

"He is an important part of the city's cultural heritage."

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