Cotswold Ways: A walk around JK Rowl­ing’s child­hood haunts

Walk in the child­hood neck of the woods of Harry Pot­ter au­thor JK Rowl­ing and en­joy for­bid­den forests, ro­man­tic ru­ins and stun­ning cliff-top scenery along the Wye

Cotswold Life - - CONTENTS -

JK Rowl­ing’s Glouces­ter­shire roots are ev­i­dent from the very first sen­tence of Harry Pot­ter and the Philoso­pher’s Stone: ‘Mr and Mrs Durs­ley, of num­ber four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were per­fectly nor­mal, thank you very much.’ Born in Yate Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal in 1965, Joanne Kath­leen Rowl­ing (as she was back then) lived in a cou­ple of lo­ca­tions around the county as a child. At one point her fam­ily dwelled in Win­ter­bourne, now in South Glouces­ter­shire, where she had friends next door whose last name was Pot­ter. Her par­ents moved to Tut­shill when she was aged nine, and she at­tended the Pri­mary School there and Wy­dean Com­pre­hen­sive School at Sed­bury, over­look­ing the Sev­ern (the start or end of the Offa’s Dyke Long Dis­tance Foot­path) from the age of eleven – the same year Harry Pot­ter started at Hog­warts. Pro­fes­sor Snape was based upon the head of sci­ence there at Wyedean, the late John Net­tle­ship (her mother, Anne, was a sci­ence tech­ni­cian in the Chem­istry de­part­ment). Sev­eral scenes from the block­buster film adap­ta­tions were filmed in Glouces­ter­shire, in­clud­ing at Glouces­ter Cathe­dral and Symonds Yat. And, to clinch the JK cre­den­tials for the area, the au­thor re­vealed on her Pot­ter­more web­site that ‘the wiz­ard­ing fam­ily of Pot­ters de­scends from the twelfth-cen­tury wiz­ard Lin­fred of St­inch­combe’, a small civil par­ish be­tween Durs­ley and Ni­b­ley. Walk­ing around Tut­shill and Ti­den­ham one gets a real sense of Rowl­ing’s child­hood myth­scape – the dra­matic land­scape of the Wye Val­ley that must her stirred her youth­ful imag­i­na­tion and man­i­fested decades later in the world of Harry Pot­ter. As we cel­e­brate 20 years of ‘the boy who lived’ what bet­ter time to see where it all started? Excelsior!

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