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Awarded a Green Flag 2017 and set in the heart of Hardy Country, the Visitor Centre is a gateway for local people and visitors alike to discover more about Thomas Hardy's early life and enjoy the local landscape which inspired his works.

Located on the edge of Thorncombe Wood Local Nature Reserve and a short walk from Hardy's Cottage, the Visitor Centre is home to displays, café, shop and Rangers' office. It is a hub of opportunity to discover more about Hardy as a child and be involved in what is happening in the landscape now through activities such as wildlife walks, Forest School activities, conservation volunteering and seasonal events.


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Visiting Hardy's Birthplace

Facilities, parking and directions for our award winning fully accessible Visitor Centre

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Thorncombe Wood Local Nature Reserve

This magical pocket of mixed woodland and heath is listed on the Ancient Woodland Inventory

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Under the Greenwood Tree Cafe

A family run cafe serving delicious homemade and locally sourced food

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Hardy's Birthplace Project

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


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of the wood project

Helping visitors to understand and connect to Thorncombe Wood and how it is managed.

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Get involved

The project invites everyone from the community to experience this area in new and exciting ways.

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Hardy's Cottage

Visit the National Trust website for visitor information about nearby Hardy's Cottage

Visitor Centre opening times

Open all year round

Monday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm

Hardy's Cottage opening times

March to October

Open 7 days a week, 11am to 5pm
November to February

Open Thursday-Sunday, 11am to 4pm