Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In the Harry Potter books (specifically, HP and the Deathly Hallows), Godric's Hollow is the home and/or birthplace of a great many famous British witches and wizards - maybe even all of them.

But where exactly is it? Do we know any more than just "somewhere in Britain"?

share|improve this question
Steve Vander Ark suggests a location for Godric's Hollow in his book, In Search of Harry Potter. I do not have a copy of the book to reference from. – ibid Feb 2 at 22:10
up vote 28 down vote accepted

We do know a little bit more, and it's been best summed up already on the Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter:

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we are told that, in A History of Magic, Bathilda Bagshot writes that Godric's Hollow, a "West Country village," 1 is one of a number of villages where wizards settled in relatively large numbers after the ratification of the International Statute of Secrecy in 1689.

And there's mention of part of Hagrid's trip from the Hollow to Little Whinging:

At the start of the story, Hagrid brings back the one year old Harry Potter from Godric's Hollow to Privet Drive in Surrey on a flying motorbike. He says to Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall that Harry "fell asleep as we was flyin' over Bristol."

Pottermore just gives us the generic info found in the Bagshot quote:

Godric's Hollow fact file
A village in the West Country of England

Here's West Country:

enter image description here

Commenters have indicated several other possible routes Hagrid took, which shows that our known location for the Hollow is still too vague to pinpoint a more specific location.

1See @Au101's anwser for the precise location of this quote.

For the record, I also searched Accio Quote and Rowling's Twitter account for more insight, but came up empty.

To acknowledge @ibid's answer, some clue may exist in the sorting hat's song, regarding Godric being born in a "wild moor", but unfortunately no other clues exist to indicate whether that refers to an actual named moor. However, combining that with some ideas from @January's answer, I've come up with my own best guess:

enter image description here

Keep in mind, this part is just my guess and not the canon answer.

I'd say Godric's Hollow is possibly somewhere in area of Exmoor National Park.

  1. It's in West Country
  2. It's a "moor", per "Bold Gryffindor, from wild moor"
  3. If Hagrid flew first towards Bristol then followed the M4 (or other roads), then he would have crossed the Bristol Channel, making the "halfway out ter sea" comment make sense.
share|improve this answer
There is also the possibility that Godric’s Hollow is in fact within Bristol County, to the northwest of Bristol City. That would put it most likely somewhere in the sparsely populated, mostly-fields triangle between Pilning, Awkley, and Aust, between Bristol City and the coast. If that were so, Hagrid’s statement that Harry fell asleep over Bristol (City, presumably) would simply mean that he fell asleep almost immediately. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 2 at 2:58
We've solved the mystery of the missing 24 hours between the Potters' murder and Hagrid's arrival at Privet Drive: Hagrid didn't fly in a straight line! – BolteAltamont Feb 2 at 3:40
@CreationEdge Basically the area in red on this Google Maps screenshot. Bristol’s in the bottom-right corner; the brown stuff in the top-right is the shallow waters at the narrowing estuary of the River Severn, separating Bristol from the southernmost parts of Wales. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 2 at 4:13
I don't understand the "straight line" bit of Hagrid's motorcycle flight, unless it's supposed to mean to go exactly from west to east. Since the earth isn't flat, an exact west-east trajectory wouldn't even be along a "straight line" (unless the flight happens to be exactly on the equator...). For a flight to be on a "straight line", what's required is that it be on a great-circle. – Mico Feb 2 at 14:30
Re "straight line", I've never flown a motorcycle at night, but I've flown small planes, and I happen to know that it takes somewhat more skill and training to follow a line on a map than it takes to follow rivers, coastlines, highways, etc. – james large Feb 2 at 21:19

I can go a bit better than "somewhere in Britain":

Most celebrated of these half-magical dwelling places is, perhaps, Godric's Hollow, the West Country village where the great wizard Godric Gryffindor was born, and where Bowman Wright, wizarding smith, forged the first Golden Snitch.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - p.261 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 16, Godric's Hollow

(Bathilda Bagshot writing in A History of Magic)

share|improve this answer
+1, but where does this quote come from? – Rand al'Thor Feb 2 at 2:32
@randal'thor you taught me that if you don't get in quick, you get ninja'd. Source added :P :P – Au101 Feb 2 at 2:33
Good choice - you ninja'd CreationEdge by a mere 2 seconds!! – Rand al'Thor Feb 2 at 2:34

"Wild Moor"

(based off of what people are sayingin the comments, this is probably either Dartmoor or Bodmin Moor)

Quoting from the sorting hat's song:

A thousand years or more ago,
When I was newly sewn,
There lived four wizards of renown,
Whose names are still well known:
Bold Gryffindor, from wild moor,
Fair Ravenclaw, from glen,
Sweet Hufflepuff, from valley broad,
Shrewd Slytherin, from fen.
(Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Chapter 12 - text available on Pottermore)

share|improve this answer
Where is the wild moor? Is that a place well-known to Brits? – Azor-Ahai Feb 2 at 6:30
@Azor-Ahai "wild moor" on its own no, but given that GH is in the "West Country" this probably means it's in Somerset or close by. – user657267 Feb 2 at 9:10
@user657267 The West Country is also home to Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor. Probably others too, but those both spring to mind. Dartmoor is especially "wild". – James Thorpe Feb 2 at 9:32
Bodmin isn't exactly tame either, and has some brilliant myths about the Beast of Bodmin, which is said to look like a big black panther or something. I'm sure JKR would love to imply that myths like that are due to a local magical community not hiding as well as they should. – anaximander Feb 2 at 10:23
Dartmoor (as someone who lives in the vicinity and spent a lot of time on the moor) has it's fair share of superstitious myths and legends, from the quaint to the gruesome. – GeoffAtkins Feb 2 at 15:47

For Harry Potter related location questions, a good place to start is Location, Location on the White Hound Fanfiction site. They try to consider all the existing clues, fairly neutrally, and often give a surprisingly precise location of the relevant place even based on a very few clues.

For Godric's Hollow, in particular, they give some more details than just "West Country":

We can also say that Godric's Hollow is probably towards the north side of the West Country, or at any rate not on the southern side, because if it were on the south side then going via Bristol would involve a considerable detour.

This rules out Dorset (which is too far south). Cornwall is unlikely for linguistic reasons (it's too Celtic, and would not have Anglo-Saxon place names such as Godric's Hollow, especially not in the Middle Ages).

They note then one crucial passage that had not been mentioned in any of the answers previously:

'But what if I'd given Harry to him, eh? I bet he'd've pitched him off the bike halfway out ter sea.' [PoA ch. #10; p. 154]

The phrase "halfway out to sea" does not make much sense for something right on the coast (it's either to sea, or it isn't), and does not make much sense for something very far from the coast (as halfway to coast would still be well on land). They then consider when would that phrase make sense, and then several other geographic clues; I will not summarize any more (it is better to just read the linked article itself).

Their end result, however, is well worth quoting:

The most likely location for Godric's Hollow is somewhere near Weston-Super-Mare in Somerset: either near (but not on) the coastline facing into the Severn Estuary, or on the estuary of the River Parret which feeds into Bridgewater Bay a few miles south-west of Weston-Super-Mare. Hagrid passed over Bristol en route to Little Whinging because he used the motorways as a guide, picking up the M5 near Godric's Hollow and following it to Bristol, and then the M4 from Bristol to Heathrow.

(They have figured out that Little Whinging is near Heathrow in a separate article. I will not describe their reasoning in detail here, but basically it is the only part of Surrey that is remotely near the described railway.)

They do not appear to have considered the tiny triangle NW of Bristol - which is strange as they typically consider all possibilities, however unlikely. It definitely fits their clues (including the "halfway to sea" one) just as well (as far as I can tell, anyway).

As for the wild moors - one would suppose that what was wild moors ten centuries ago might not necessarily be so today. This particular one seems to be what is now known as Sedgemoor.

share|improve this answer
A ship "out to sea" is one in the midst of its voyage. If J.K. meant it in that sense, that line would be read as meaning over the sea – Bishop Feb 2 at 17:25
I've always understood “halfway out ter sea” here as meaning ‘over water, but not too far out from the coast’, basically in shallow waters. – Janus Bahs Jacquet May 2 at 4:54

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.