Few authors have such strong associations with the natural and cultural heritage of their local area as Thomas Hardy. This cottage, where Hardy was born in 1840, was built of cob and thatch by his grandfather and has been little altered since the family left. Despite training as an architect, writing was Hardy's first love, and it was from here that he wrote several of his early short stories, poetry and novels including 'Under the Greenwood Tree' and 'Far from the Madding Crowd'. The garden reflects most people's idea of a typical cottage garden, with roses around the door, and the sound of birdsong, even in winter. Once inside you will discover that 19th-century rural life, with its open hearths, small windows and stone floors, was not always idyllic. It is rather larger than one might expect, definitely noy a labourers humble abode. Nonetheless it is an idyllic place to visit on a summers day, all that is best of the English countryside.
Next to the cottage is the Natinal Trust run Visitors Centre. The cottage is traditionally built from cob and the thatched roof is a wonderful backdrop to the roses, honeysuckle and japonica that climb the walls. Catch the cottage on a sunny Summers day and you won't find a prettier place in Dorset to spend a couple of hours. The cottage stands at the top of the hill off Cuckoo Lane in Higher Bockhampton and behind it stretches Egdon Heath, which Hardy wrote of in 'The Return of the Native'. Take your walking shoes and enjoy a walk through the woods and beyond into Puddletown Forest. Continue the Thomas Hardy Trail by taking in another National Trust property with Hardy connections - Max Gate, where Thomas Hardy wrote many poems and eventually died. The cottage is wheelchair accessible with the exception of the upstairs bedrooms. Assistance dogs are welcome.
Location : Higher Bockhampton, nr. Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 8QJ
Transport: Dorchester South OR Dorchester West (National Rail) then bus or taxi - 4 miles. Bus Routes : 186 and 187stop 1 mile away.
Opening Times : Wednesday to Sunday 11:00 - 17:00
Tickets : Adults £6.00; Children £3.00
Tel: 01305 262366