Assistance dogs only
*Hardy's Cottage is now closed for the season and will open again in March 2024.* The most accessible walking route to reach Hardy’s Cottage is via the bridlepath running behind the visitor centre. The bridlepath is unsurfaced and can be muddy and uneven. Accessible parking is available behind the cottage for visitors, please phone on the day of your visit to book an accessible parking space (01305 262366). Trampers (all-terrain mobility scooters) are available to hire from the visitor centre. There is no charge, but users must be members of Countryside Mobility. Please ring 01305 251228 to book a Tramper. Virtual Tour laptops and a Braille guide are available at Hardy's Cottage upon request.
Type in 'Thorncombe Wood Car Park' into Sat Nav. A35, from Dorchester and the west: From the A35, at the Kingston Maurward roundabout take the exit signposted Kingston Maurward and Higher Bockhampton. Follow the road to the next crossroads and turn left (there is a small sign for Hardy's Cottage). Look out for a pair of cottages and a red letter box on your right, and turn right into the lane. Follow the lane round to the right and into the Thorncombe Wood car park. A35, from the east: From the A35, take the exit signposted Higher Bockhampton onto Cuckoo Lane. After half a mile, turn left towards Hardy's Cottage. Follow the lane round to the right and into the Thorncombe Wood car park. Getting to Hardy's Cottage from the car park: The cottage is a 10-15 minute walk from the car park, either along a bridle path or through the woodland. Bridlepath: From the car park, walk back up the lane and turn right along the gravel bridlepath. The cottage is at the end of the path, on the right hand side. Woodland: A more tranquil approach, but steep and uneven in places. Follow the path up the slope to the left and turn left at the first branch of the path, signposted 'Hardy's Cottage' on a wooden waymarker.
Parking: Car park owned by Dorset Council; Charges apply. Please note: There is limited accessible parking by prior arrangement only. Call 01305 262366 or email email@example.com to arrange.
Dorchester South 4 miles; Dorchester West 4 miles
Follow NCN Route 2 out of Dorchester, heading East. Take left turn, off NCN Route 2, towards Lower Bockhampton (follow white finger posts). Continue through Lower Bockhampton, and straight over crossroads, following white fingerposts to Higher Bockhampton and Hardy's Cottage. Turn right, following fingerposts to Hardy's Cottage and Higher Bockhampton. As you come down the hill, you will see the Visitor Centre straight ahead of you. There are cycle racks available at the Visitor Centre.
If you are planning a visit to Hardy's Cottage, you will need to book your visit in advance. Find out how to book and what to expect when you arrive.
Evocative cob and thatch cottage, which was the birthplace of author Thomas Hardy in 1840 and was built by his great-grandfather. The house is where Hardy wrote his early works, including 'Under the Greenwood Tree' and 'Far from the Madding Crowd'.
Take a stroll through the traditional cottage garden and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and scents of the season. Amble through the orchard where we have several old local varieties of apples growing including dessert apples and cider making apples.
Our team of expert volunteers deliver guided tours at Hardy's Cottage, sharing stories so you can discover more about this special place.
Explore the simple thatched cottage where Thomas Hardy was born and raised, and the surrounding woodland landscape that greatly influenced his work.
Visit the dog-friendly café at Hardy's Birthplace Visitor Centre, an independent family-run business that prides itself on using local produce for its varied menu.
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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 great-grandfather.
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. Once inside you will discover, with its open hearths, small windows and stone floors
The cottage sits next to Thorncombe Wood, owned and managed by Dorset Council. This is an ancient woodland and nature reserve that opens out onto heathland and the beginning of Hardy's Egdon Heath. Next to the Thorncombe Wood car park (Dorset Council, pay and display) you will find the Hardy's Birthplace Visitor Centre.