The Dyr Erib (S. "The Lone-lands") stretched one hundred and twenty miles north, east, and south of Weathertop. Its flattest portion formed the Oiolad, or "Endless Plain." The Oiolad, like most of the level portions of the Dyr Erib, was a "chalk prairie"; the soil here was thin and rocky, the grasses short and tough; the land was drier because much of the rain drained away underground through cracks and passages in the limestone bedrock. The rivers and streams that did exist cut ravines and narrow valleys, with stands of small poplars and willows growing near the water. At low points between the downs and hills, better soil and more water was trapped—real forests of birch and oak flourished in such environments. In the time of the old kingdom, many of these small pockets of fertile soil were homesteaded by poor squatters. Since the scourging of T.A. 1409, the Lone Lands had become the domain of Orc tribes sworn to the Witch-king.
Dyr Erib was divided by two important man-made features The Road and the Hedge. The most important was the Menatar Romen, the great stone-edged highway whose cuts and culverts provided an easy passage across the grasslands. The road head east from Bree, cutting across the southern foot of Weathertop, and entering Rhudaur at the Iant Methed, the "Last Bridge" over the Mitheithel. It divided Dyr Erib neady in half. Also man-made was the Hagavorl, the ancient "Hedgewall" that long marked the boundary of Cardolan. This great thorn hedge ran along the south side of the Menatar Romen from the Old Forest to Weathertop, then plunged directly southeast across the Lone Lands to the banks of the Mitheithel in southernmost Rhudar. It had been cut and ravaged by many grassfires over the centuries, but still served as a useful landmark on the plains.
Southwest of Weathertop the chalk prairies began falling away in lines of ridges with a distinct southward facing; this was the Tyrn Hyarmen, the "South Downs." The first of them, the "Milkfall Edge," was a broken arc of low limestone cliffs some twenty miles from Weathertop. Its northern end caused a steep grade on the Menatar Romen and provided a spring-watered camping green, the last really pleasant spot for east-bound travellers to rest before Weathertop was passed and the Oiolad began. The southern boundary of Dyr Erib was, in theory, the southernmost line ofthe South Downs. In practice, the edge of the Lone-lands was however far north the sheep-herders of Feotar, the easternmost province of Cardolan, dared to graze their flocks. The Nen-i-Sul, a river that started from a spring at the eastern foot of Weathertop, ran south through the Tyrn Hyarmen into the inhabited parts of Cardolan, forming the boundary between Dol Tinare and Feotar. Hidden in ravines along much of its course, the river was a barrier to travelers because of the bluffs that lined its banks. East of Weathertop, the Dyr Erib was as flat as a village common for many tens of miles. The barrenness was broken only by an occasional pothole or ravine. South of the Menatar Romen, the plain stretched nearly to the banks of the Mitheithel; north of the road, the terrain soon developed hills and steep escarpments, climbing towards the Ettendales of Rhudaur and the Misty Mountain fastness of Angmar. The ridges formed by the break-up ofthe land were called the Stepping Fells; scattered amongst them were small woods, gullies, and caves that provided havens for the Orcs of Angmar, acting as the Witch-king's frontier defences.
Places of Note
Amon Ros Amon Sûl Barad Dhorn Barad Iachiant Bleakrift Candaith's Encampment Circle of Blood Dol Vaeg Echad Sûl Eglain Camp Forsaken Inn Glumhallow Gondrinn Iorvinas Ivar's Crypt Last Bridge Lornspan Minas Eriol Mithrenost Naerost Nan Dhelu Ost Cyrn Ost Guruth Ost Haer Ost Laden Spring of the Red Maid Talath Gaun Thandobel Tornstones