A man has created an incredibly detailed Lord of the Rings-style map of Oxfordshire, presenting the county where author JRR Tolkien wrote the fantasy novels in a whole new light.

The Middle-Earth-inspired map was created by artist Chris Birse, after around 70 hours of dedicated work.

Mr Birse recently left his position as director at Aldi to devote himself full time to his passion for cartography, calling himself a “fantastic cartographer”.

The 34-year-old, from Darlington, told The Oxford Mail that the project actually started when he was writing his own fantasy novel and that he needed a map to illustrate the location and the geography of history.

Chris Birse is working on one of his fantastic cards. Photo: Chris Birse

He said: “I thought that, rather than having someone do it for me, I would try it myself.

“I made one for my home region of Teesside and got a lot of really good feedback so I thought it was something pretty cool and people seemed to really like it.

“I’m going on a trip across the country now doing all the different counties. I would eventually like to put them in a great fantastic atlas of the UK.

With Oxfordshire being the latest edition in the collection, Mr Birse has already created fantastic maps for various counties in the UK including County Durham, Hampshire and Kent, as well as national maps for Wales. , Scotland and Ireland.

He plans to then go into neighboring Berkshire.

Oxford Mail: A large-scale version of Chris Birse's Oxfordshire map.  Photo: Chris Birse A large-scale version of Chris Birse’s Oxfordshire map. Photo: Chris Birse

While creating the map, Mr Birse reached out to Oxfordshire residents on social media by posting messages to community groups and discussions. He was hoping to get their advice on local landmarks to include that may not be easily found by a stranger, such as stone circles, battlefields, and standing stones.

After “a lot of positive feedback” from the Oxonians, Mr Birse added a number of places related to Tolkien, including the Eagle and Child pub, Tolkien’s bench and Wolvercote cemetery.

Mr Birse said he normally does not include ads on his maps, but “practically” had to include the eagle and the child because of his close connection to the author.

Oxford Mail: Chris Birse's fantastic map showing Oxford.  Photo: Chris BirseChris Birse’s fantastic map showing Oxford. Photo: Chris Birse

The card also gives Kassam Stadium, RAF Brize Norton, and Blenheim Palace the Tolkien Treatment.

Mr Birse has given six months to become a full-time fantasy cartographer to see if it will work, in the hopes that the Christmas season will generate a lot of interest in his maps.

The Oxfordshire Lord of the Rings fantasy map is available on Mr. Birse’s Etsy account, FantasyWorldMaps, starting at £ 16.99.


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