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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"?

  • 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 '16 at 22:10
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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
WHERE IN THE WORLD
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.
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    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 '16 at 2:58
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    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 '16 at 3:40
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    It's possible that Hagrid took a slightly roundabout route to shake off potential pursuit - Voldemort may be gone, but it's reasonable to assume that his followers are still about and may want to harm Harry. This would explain both the missing time and the odd route. The Sorting Hat once said that Gryffindor was from "wild moor", which implies Dartmoor (or maybe Bodmin), either of which are a bit too far south to pass Bristol on your way to Surrey. Of course, none of this accounts for anything weird that happens when you magically hide a place. – anaximander Feb 2 '16 at 10:20
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    @fredley - yeah; as had been noted (not only on White Hound), since Harry goes to the Dursleys from Paddington station in the first book, Little Whinging must have been in the extreme north of Surrey (perhaps even further north than Staines). A straignt line from there to Bristol would continue on to Clevedon, and perhaps even slighly further south; and indeed a straight line between there and places like Lynton or Ilfracombe, way out in Devon, would pass less than ten miles south of Bristol, so it's not even much of a detour. – January First-of-May Feb 2 '16 at 13:16
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    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. – Solomon Slow Feb 2 '16 at 21:19
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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)

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    @randal'thor you taught me that if you don't get in quick, you get ninja'd. Source added :P :P – Au101 Feb 2 '16 at 2:33
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    Good choice - you ninja'd CreationEdge by a mere 2 seconds!! – Rand al'Thor Feb 2 '16 at 2:34
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"Wild Moor"

(based off of what people are saying in 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)

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    Where is the wild moor? Is that a place well-known to Brits? – Azor Ahai Feb 2 '16 at 6:30
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    @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 '16 at 9:10
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    @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 '16 at 9:32
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    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 '16 at 10:23
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    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 '16 at 15:47
9

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.

  • 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 '16 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 '16 at 4:54
3

I believe that he lived somewhere in the county of Devon. Devon has Dartmoor and a small part of Exmoor. There were lions in Devon too, 1,300 years ago. North Devon is at the end of the Bristol channel and at the start of the Celtic sea. And m5 begins at Exeter. In mid Devon there's cottages. And halfway to the sea, indicating he's still in land heading to the sea. Or else it would had said halfway of the sea. And in the song it says 'wild moors' dartmoor had a lot of bronze age animals (lion) before (1300 yrs ago). It was wild.

So actually you're pretty accurate to where Godric's Hallow might be.

enter image description here

  • Welcome to Scifi.SE! What makes you think that this is where Godric's Hallow might be located? I don't think I saw anything about that in your answer. Can you please edit to include some reasoning for why this is the place and what your sources are? Thank you. (Because, really, having lions there isn't very strong evidence.) – user58 Aug 17 '17 at 6:41

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