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- Mapledurham House in Oxfordshire was an inspiration for Toad Hall. It is also thought that the large white mansion on the bank of the Thames near Whitchurch in Berkshire was an inspiration for Toad hall.
- The village of Lerryn, Cornwall lays claim to being the setting for the book.
- Simon Winchester has suggested that the character of Ratty was based on Frederick Furnivall, a keen oarsman and acquaintance of Kenneth Grahame.
- Articles in The Scotsman  and Oban Times  have suggested The Wind in the Willows was inspired by the Crinan Canal because Grahame spent some of his childhood in Ardrishaig.
- There is a theory that the idea for the story arose when its author saw a water vole beside the River Pang in Berkshire, southern England. A 29 hectare extension to the nature reserve at Moor Copse, near Tidmarsh Berkshire, was acquired in January 2007 by the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust.
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