The Hobbit: A view from above

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Stephen Barker / Rex Features (1714866i) Aerial view of Hobbiton Aerial view of 'The Hobbit' film set, Matamata, Waikato, New Zealand - 04 May 2012 *Full story: Two years ago it was nothing more than a building site, but Hobbiton now looks like a real slice of Middle Earth. Filming on Peter Jackson's highly anticipated 'The Hobbit' is well underway, with the first half of the two-part film due to be released at the end of the year. Based on J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel of the same name, the films will star Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield and Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug. Meanwhile, several actors from The Lord of the Rings trilogy will reprise their roles, including Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood and Orlando Bloom. Part of the filming took place at the 'Hobbiton' village in Waikato, New Zealand. Back in 2010, Hobbiton consisted of little more than dirt tracks and half built hobbit homes. However, today gardens bloom and the completed hobbit houses boasts painted doors in cheerful blues, greens and reds.