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Lord Julian Fellowes opens new Hardy Centre in Thorncombe woods

PUBLISHED: 12:44 16 April 2015 | UPDATED: 12:44 16 April 2015

Lord Fellowes with the New Hardy Players at the opening of the Hardy Birthplace Visitor Centre.

Lord Fellowes with the New Hardy Players at the opening of the Hardy Birthplace Visitor Centre.


A new visitor centre celebrating Thomas Hardy and bringing together his cottage and the landscape which inspired his writing, has been opened by Lord Julian Fellowes.

The timber-built visitor centre - a joint project between Dorset County Council and the National Trust – is in Thorncombe woods, at Higher Bockhampton, near Dorchester, just a short walk from Hardy’s Cottage through the historic broadleaved woodland. The Hardy Birthplace Visitor Centre is designed to help visitors to find out more about Hardy and the surrounding woodland and rolling landscapes that influenced his work.

At the ceremony, Lord Fellowes was joined by the New Hardy Players who performed songs and readings by Thomas Hardy. The popular Dorset author wrote several of his early short stories, poetry and novels including Under the Greenwood Tree and Far from the Madding Crowd in the cottage. A number of events are planned for later in the year including performances by the New Hardy Players.

More information can be found at



10 things to see and do in Dorchester - Situated on the banks of the River Frome, there’s plenty to explore in this lovely county town from dinosaurs and pharaohs to Michelin star dining and Hardy’s Casterbridge.

Behind the scenes at renovated Hilfield Manor in Sherborne - A renovated hunting lodge near Sherborne, which was popular with Thomas Hardy, has come on the market for only the third time since it was built in 1880. The current owners took Helen Stiles on a tour.


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