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Evocative cob and thatch cottage - birthplace of Thomas Hardy
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.
The cottage sits next to Thorncombe Woods, owned and managed by Dorset County Council. This is an ancient woodland and nature reserve that opens out onto heathland and the beginning of Hardy's Egdon Heath.
Apart from hosting two festive events in December, Hardy's Birthplace is closed for the winter months and will re-open in March. During the closed season we'll be busy with all the important tasks we can't do when the house is open. This includes essential maintenance work, cleaning, and planning for next year. We hope to see you at our Christmas events, and look forward to your visit next spring.
Friday 13 & Saturday 14 December
Although Hardy's Birthplace is now closed for the winter, we're celebrating Christmas in style with two festive events in the cottage. Come along for A Hardy Christmas evening performance, or a Christmas carolling afternoon. Both events feature local folk musician Tim Laycock.
When you arrive
The car park for Hardy's Birthplace is open all year round. From here it's a 10-15 minute walk to the cottage, either by bridle path or through the woodland. The woodland path offers a tranquil approach but is uneven in places and can be muddy in wet weather. The level bridle path has a rough gravel surface with some potholes. There's limited parking for blue badge holders.
Winter walks and 50 things fun
While the cottage is closed for the winter, how about exploring the landscape which provided inspiration for Hardy's work. What could be lovelier than a crisp winter walk through the woodland and heathland surrounding the cottage, rustling through fallen leaves or if we're lucky, freshly fallen snow? Perhaps just as Hardy once did himself.
You can also tick off some 50 things activities along the way, including build a den, make a trail with sticks, create some wild art and hunt for bugs. Perfect for a family adventure in the great outdoors.
Follow Hardy’s story from his place of birth here to his home at Max Gate*, and final resting place at St Michael's Church in Stinsford. Learn more about his life and work at the Dorset County Museum, get your photo taken next to the Hardy memorial, and round off your trip with a tour of Clouds Hill*, home of Lawrence of Arabia, a great friend of Hardy.
*Max Gate and Clouds Hill are both closed during the winter season.