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Hardys Birthplace Project

The Hardy's Birthplace Project is a partnership between Dorset County Council and the National Trust.

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  1. Hardys cottage
  1. Hardys cottage
  2. Hardys - Moonfleet
  3. Hardy Cowden Planting

Hardy's Birthplace

Thomas Hardy was born in June 1840 in Higher Bockhampton. The National Trust-owned cottage (opens in a new window) and surrounding heath and woodland of Thorncombe Wood and Black Heath, owned by Dorset County Council, were Hardy's childhood playground and formed the centre of Hardy's poetic universe. 

Hardy wrote about the landscape while living in the cottage. In doing so he immortalised his surroundings and how he saw them. Through the spread of his own fame, his words and descriptions have reached out to allow any visitor to see as he saw, to experience what he experienced and to feel as he felt.

The heritage that is Hardy's Birthplace, is arguably the most important and yet the least told story ever created by the writer.  It is essential that the cottage and its surrounding landscape are both managed and cared for in a way that will preserve them. In doing so, visitors from around the world can come to Hardy's Birthplace to appreciate and understand the environment which in nourishing him, gave him his deep and penetrating vision into the nature of the human condition.

The aim of the Hardy's Birthplace Project is to do just that, by building a new visitor centre that can host opportunities and the facilities to allow visitors to discover more about the life of Thomas Hardy and the real landscape that he used as a stage for his characters. 

About the Project

A successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund provided approximately 50% of the funding required, with the balance coming from the partners and additional grant-awarding bodies including the Garfield Weston Foundation and Fine Family Foundation. The project was procured and project managed by Dorset County Council's Dorset Property.

The project was procured and project managed by Dorset County Council's Dorset Property Team.

Community involvement

​The project invites everyone from the community to experience this area in new and exciting ways. There are opportunities for school groups to take part in Forest School, heritage enthusiasts to explore more about the Victorian way of life, community groups to contribute to the maintenance of the Visitor Centre, grounds and surrounding land, and avid walkers to look at the landscape with a new perspective.

Supporting the Project

To find out more about the organisations who continue to support the project and are working to put Hardy's Birthplace and Hardy Country on the map, please follow the links below:

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