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The Gwathló, or the Greyflood, was the name given to the lower reaches of the River Hoarwell. The Greyflood flowed southwest from the confluence of the Hoarwell (Mitheithel) with the Glanduin, until it reached the Great Sea at Lond Daer. It formed the border between the regions of Enedwaith in the south and Minhiriath in the north.


The Gwathló was wide enough that it could be sailed on all the way to where its tributary Glanduin met the river. Its was formed where the Mitheithel or Hoarwell met the Glanduin, where a marshy area known as Nîn-in-Eilph or Swanfleet was formed.

When the Númenórean Ship Kings required more and more wood to build their ships, they set up a haven-fortress on the Gwathló called Lond Daer or Lond Daer Enedh, Great (Middle) Haven. From there the lands were rapidly deforested, and by the Third Age all the forests were gone.

In the late Second Age and early Third Age the Gwathló formed the border between the Kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor, and the great Gondorian northern outpost of Tharbad was built where the Great South Road crossed the river at its only crossing in the lower stream. However, by the late Third Age Gondor had retreated far south and Arnor had been destroyed. Tharbad and its great bridge had been abandoned and ruined, and the river had to be crossed by the ruins of Tharbad in a dangerous ford.


The Sindarin name Gwathló was adapted from the name Gwathir, given to the river by the Númenóreans in the Second Age. Its name translates as "Shadowy River", and was given because over all its length it flowed through immense forests which covered Minhiriath to the north and Enedwaith to the south.[source?] It was one of the few rivers also given an Adûnaic name: Agathurush,[1][2]

Its name Greyflood came from the tree-shadows of the great forest that filled those regions during the Second Age.[source?]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Appendix D: The Port of Lond Daer", p. 263
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor" (edited by Carl F. Hostetter), in Vinyar Tengwar, Number 42, July 2001, p. 9