On your stay in Lyme Regis we hope you might find time to follow the Hardy Trail.

Important note:

Although this page may look out of date by modern standards and contain some inaccuracies please know that it was created by Ron Bailey who founded back in 1998! Ron was very passionate about Lyme Regis and the surrounding areas and wrote many articles. Ron passed away after losing a courageous three-year battle with cancer in May 2010.

Discover Map of south west, uk
Authors West Country
Thomas HardyPoet & Novelist
HARDY TRAILwill take you around the places in the
West Countrywhere Thomas Hardy lived and wrote about.
  • Thomas Hardy’s land is Dorset; most of his
    life was spent here and was the inspiration for most of his works. He was
    born in 1840 at Higher Bockhampton,
    near Dorchester, to an ordinary west country family; he was sent to the
    village school for a year and then to Dorchester.
    He was a shy and reflective child and was encouraged by his mother to read
    and study beyond the usual level for local children although he was not
    thought to be particularly clever at lessons.
  • At the age of 16 he was articled to a Dorchester architect,
    he could have become accomplished in this profession had he not chosen
    to concentrate on writing. He lived in London for 5 years but then returned
    to Dorset, living in Weymouth and continuing to
    work as an architect while seeking publishers for his books.
  • His last novel, Jude the Obscure, was published
    in 1895, from then to the end of his life he turned to poetry. In 1885
    he moved to Max Gate, a house of his own design
    on the outskirts of Dorchester. He died there on 11th. January 1928.
  • The name “Wessex” used for the home county of
    his characters – “a partly real, partly dream-country” comes
    from the ancient kingdom of central, southern and western England. Most
    of his stories are centred on “South Wessex” – Dorset.

A map of part of the West Country showing a suggested OUTER
and INNER tour.



Go to The Outer tour.
Go to The Inner Tour.

Discover literature THE
The west country Authors South West England, UK
Thomas HardyPoet & Novelist1840-1928 The HARDY TRAIL will take you around
the places in the West Country(Wessex)where he lived and wrote about.

to his work.
Navigating aids – Map
of tours
click on to select new area.Road numbers and directions given.
PORTLANDThe Isle of Portland (our Rock of Gibraltar)
is a windswept limestone peninsula which juts 4 miles into the Channel
and is joined to the mainland only by Chesil Beach and the road bridge.Famous for its Portland stone which has
been used on many magnificent buildings all over England.Naval harbour overlooked by castle built
by Henry VIII.Visit the Lighthouse.Pounding seas have carved magnificent
sculptures out of the cliffs and thrown up Chesil’s great barrier of shingle,
40 ft. high in places and stretching for 10 miles.Take the A354Map of tours
Isle of SlingersFeatured in The Trumpet-Major and
main setting of The Well-Beloved.
WEYMOUTHRoman Port.He worked for the architect Crickmay at
Weymouth from the summer of 1869 until 1870. He also stayed here for a
short period while working on The Trumpet-Major.Take the A354The scenic route along the coast passing
through Portesham, Abbotsbury (Abbotsea)
and Burton Bradstock.Map of tours
Budmouth RegisReferred to in Under the Greenwood Tree
and The Trumpet-Major.Sergeant Troy lost money at Budmouth Races
in Far from the Madding Crowd.
The Hardy Monument will be seen to the right on Black Down. Not our author, but
Captain Hardy, later Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman, Nelson’s Captain
on the Victory at Trafalgar and erected to his memory in 1844.He was born in Portesham and was descended,
like our author, from the Hardy’s of Jersey who had settled in Dorset centuries
earlier.The site provides almost 360 degrees in
views. On a clear day it can be seen from the bedroom window in his birth-place
at Higher Bockhampton.
He features in The Trumpet-Major
and The Dynast.
BRIDPORTA mile south of the town is the”little haven, seemingly a beginning
made by Nature herself of a perfect harbour”of West Bay.Take the A3066Map of tours
Port BredySetting for the story Fellow Townsmen
in which the Town Hall, St. Mary’s Church, The Black Bull Hotel and the
flax and rope making industries are featured.Melbury in The Woodlanders had
a”great stake in that harbour”because he sent off timber from there.
Pilsdon Penwill be on your left. “Little Pilsdon Crest” – another Wessex height which ironically
is the highest hill in Dorset, with magnificent views over the Marshwood
Vale.Then on your right will be Eggardon
Hill. Another hill fort with splendid views over the Marshwood Vale
and across Lyme Bay.View from Eggardon HillThe rippling downland flanks of 827
ft. high Eggardon Hill rise to an Iron Age hill fort and Bronze Age barrows
on the summit.
Harggardon Hillin The Trumpet-Major.
BEAMINSTERA pinnacled market cross and prosperous
18th. century houses, built in the golden Ham Hill stone of the region.Much loved by the 19th. century poet William
Barnes.Elizabeth Parnham House, rescued by John
Nash in 1810, now home to John Makepeace’s furniture workshops.Take the B3163, A356, A37 via Evershot
(Evershead) and Holywell.Map
EmminsterIn Tess of the D’Ubervilles, Angel
Claire’s father was vicar of this”hill surrounded little town”.Desperately seeking support after Angel
had left her, Tess walked the fifteen miles from Flintcombe-Ash
to Emminster on a frosty winter’s Sunday only to find her parents-in-law
out. To compound her problems not only does she lose her boots but she
encounters Alec once more on her return walk.
On your right will be Batcombe/High Stoy.From this mid Dorset line of chalk hills
opens up a splendid view of the north of the county and into Somerset.
High Stoy features on a number of occasions in The Woodlanders
and provided a favourite walk of his. The poem Under Stoy Hill was
probably occasioned by his last visit in August 1922.Nearby is Cross-in-Hand,
a stone pillar, featured in Tess of the d’Ubervilles which
may”mark the site of a miracle or murder,
or both”.
MELBURY OSMONDHis parents were married in the church
and at the northern end of the footpath through the churchyard is a thatched
house where His mother is thought to have lived as a child.Take the A37, Yetminster, Thornford, A352Map
Great HintockOn a hill overlooking Blackmoor Vale (White
Hart Vale) the final scene of The Woodlanders sees Marty
South alone in the churchyard.
SHERBORNE15th. century Abbey town with a ruined
12th. century Old Castle and Sherborne castle built by Sir Walter Raleigh
in 1594.A market is still held here.Sherborne Abbey Church.Sherborne Abbey Church.Take the A352, A3030, A357Map
Sherton AbbasIn the Market Place, Giles Winterborne
stood with his sample apple trees in The Woodlanders.Sherborne Abbey is where Giles Winterborne
and Grace Melbury walked and talked of their future in The Woodlanders.
STURMINSTER NEWTONHe and his then wife Emma had their first
real home together here from 1876 to 1878 -“a pretty cottage overlooking the Dorset
Stour, called Riverside Villa”.It was, he said,”our happiest time”.A graceful six arched 15th. century bridge
over the river carries the dire warning of ‘Transportation for life’ for
those who damage it.Take the B3092Map of trail
Stourcastle.Here he wrote The Return of the Native
and memories of their time here can be found in a number of poems.
MARNHULLOn a narrow no through road about 1 mile
from the church there is a delightful white-washed cottage. Tess Cottage
is thought by some to be the original of the D’Ubervilles home. (It is
a private residence not open to the public and one should respect the owner’s
privacy.) The cottage is clearly visible from the lay by.Take the B3092, East Stour, A30Map of trail
SHAFTESBURYBuilt on edge of 700 ft. plateau.The best known thoroughfare, cobbled Gold
Hill,Shaftesbury's cobbled Gold Hill an English scene.has magnificent views over Blackmoor Vale.
The Vale covers all the undulating pastoral and wooded country running
north from the chalk hills which include Bubb Down, High Stoy, Nettlecombe
Tout and Bulbarrow. The Vale proper is mainly to the north of Sturminster
Newton and is watered by the upper part of the Stour and tributaries.Take the A30Map
ShastonIn Jude the Obscure, Phillotson,
the schoolmaster, was dismissed from his post after allowing his wife Sue
Bridehead to go and live with her cousin, Jude Fawley, who had visited
her in town.
SALISBURY13th. century cathedral city on rivers
Avon, Bourne, Nadder and Wylye. Early gothic cathedral , with England’s
tallest spire at 404 ft. has a clock made in 1386, claimed to be the world’s
oldest working piece.North of city is the hill called Old Sarum
on which was built a Norman cathedral, stone was taken from this to build
the present cathedral.Black and white half timbered houses.”Upon the whole the Close of Salisbury,
under the full summer moon on a windless midnight, is as beautiful a scene
as any I know in England – or for the matter of that elsewhere”.The north porch of Salisbury Cathedral.Salisbury CathedralTake the A354Map
MelchesterSt. Thomas Church is mentioned
in Jude the Obscure; Sue and Phillotson were married in this church.Jude worked at the Cathedral during his
stay in Melchester.The Market House , now the City Library,
was where Jude confessed to Sue that he had married Arabella.Sue attended Teacher Training College
here, and in real life Hardy’s two sisters attended it.At nearby Stonehenge, Tess was finally
arrested in Tess of the D’Ubervilles.
BLANDFORD FORUMTo the west is Bulbarrow.From here, and from the Iron age hill
fort, Rawlsbury camp, nearby, a huge panorama of the Blackmore Vale
-“the Vale of the Little Dairies”- unfolds.Handsome Georgian town rebuilt after fire
in 1731 with chequered brick and stone.The Corn Exchange is outstanding, as is
the 200 year old pump under a graceful Doric porch.`Take the B3082Map
From Wessex Heights.”Homely Bulbarrow”- one of those”heights in Wessex, shaped as if by
a kindly hand for thinking, dreaming, dying on…”.
WIMBORNE MINSTERHe was attracted to Wimborne when in 1875,
house hunting in Dorset, he visited the Minster and”having seen a light within, sat in
a stall listening to the organist practising, while the rays from the musician’s
solitary candle streamed across the arcades”.He and his wife Emma, lived here from 1881
to 1883.The twin towered Minster, reflects 1000
years of varied architecture, from Norman to late Gothic. The Astronomical
clock shows Earth as the centre of the Universe.Nearby is the triple banked Iron Age defensive
earthworks of Badbury Rings.Take the A349Map
POOLE13th. century port with a natural harbour
about 95 miles around and market town.A port long engaged in”the Newfoundland trade”.Yachts in Poole Harbour.Yachts in Poole harbour.Drive east.Map
Havenpool Newson in The Mayor of Casterbridge,
landed here when he returned from Newfoundland.It features in two stories from A Changed
Man and in the poems The Chapel Organist and The Mongrel.
BOURNEMOUTH”A city of detached mansions; a Mediterranean
lounging place on the English Channel”.Beaches and pier from East Cliff, Bournemouth.Beaches and pier from East Cliff.Cross the mouth of Poole Harbour
to Studland.Map
SandbourneFeatures in The Hand of Ethelberta.
Here Christopher Julian lived and taught music. It was from Sandbourne
that Sol Chickerel and Lord Mountclere’s brother attempted to reach Knollsea
by sea to prevent Ethelberta’s marriage to Lord Mountclere. Afterwards
she provided her father with a smart villa at Sandbourne for his retirement.In Tess of the D’Ubervilles, Tess
lived with Alec D’Urberville in a lodging house called The Herons, where
she murdered him when Angel Clare returned.Featured in The Well Beloved and
the Obscure.
SWANAGEHe lived here in 1875-76 while completing
The Hand of Ethelberta.”Everybody in the parish who was not
a boatman was a quarrier, unless he were the gentleman who owned half the
property and has been a quarryman, or the gentleman who owned the other
half, and had been to sea”.King Alfred beat the Danes in the 877 naval battle in the bay.Wellington clock taken from London bridge.The facade of the town hall was designed
by Christopher Wren in 1670.Take the A351Map
CORFE CASTLEA dramatic ruined castle.Centuries of cruelty in this fortress
began with the murder of 18 year old King Edward the Martyr in 978 by his
stepmother Queen Aelfthryth (buried in Wareham below), and ended with the
castle being wrecked by Cromwellians in 1646.Take the A351Map
Corvsgate Castle
WAREHAMMarket town with spacious Georgian main
street.The saxon church has a sculpture of his
friend, T.E.Lawrence (of Arabia) by Eric Kennington. (Lawrence died in
Dorset)St. Mary’s Church contains marble coffin
of Edward the Martyr, who was murdered in Corfe.Take the A352, B3070Map
EAST LULWORTHA permanent exhibition of He’s life and
work is on display in St Andrew’s Church.He was associated with the drawings of
the church in 1861 when working with John Hicks in Dorchester and with
the 1863 restoration and extension.You can also visit Lulworth Castle.Has 1786 Rotunda, first Roman Catholic
church built after Reformation.Go to Coombe Keynes, B3071Map
St Andrew's Church.St. Andrews Church.
WOOLThis village on the River Frome has one
of the most beautiful 17th. century bridges in the county.On the staircase of the manor, now an
hotel, can be seen the faint tracings of two portraits of the real Turberville
family.Woolbridge Manor.Woolbridge Manor found in his literature.Map
The Wellbridge
Manor and ill fated honeymoon home of Tess and Angel Clare
in Tess of the D’Ubervilles
If you head back to Weymouth
you will pass Tadnoll Old Knowle,
one of a number of pockets of heath land surmounted by a barrow.Egdon Heath extends for about
fourteen miles eastward from Higher Bockhampton towards Poole Harbour,
though its”original unity … is now somewhat
Reminiscent of his description
of Rainbarrow in The Return
of the Native.
to his work.
Navigating aids – Map
of tours
click on to select new area.Road numbers and directions given.
MORETONThe grave of Lawrence of Arabia
– a friend of his – is situated here in the cemetery. All the windows in
the nearby 18th century church are of engraved glass designed by Lawrence
Whistler.Take the B3390, turn right you will pass
Clouds Hill, home of T.E.Lawrence, and then left to:-
Gallows Hillwhich provides one of a number of views of what now remains of”the vast tract of unenclosed wild known
as Egdon Heath”.Map
BERE REGISOn Woodbury Hill, just east of the village,
stands the remains of an Iron Age fort from which there are views across
heath and river valleys stretching east toward Poole.”The decayed old town”overlooked by Woodbury Hill.”The Nijni Novgorod of South Wessex”whose annual sheep fair was once”the busiest, merriest, noisiest”of them all.The Saxon parish church has become a place
of pilgrimage for admirer’s of his novels.Inside the church are the tombs of the
Turbervilles (on whom He based his novel).Tess was buried here.There is a richly decorated oak ceiling,
a gift from Cardinal Morton, Henry VII’s chancellor. Its arches, supported
by figure of the 12 apostles in 15th. century dress, bear the arms of the
Cardinal’s various offices.Map
Kingsbere Greenhill
in Far from the Madding Crowd.In Tess of the D’Ubervilles, Tess
and her family set up their four poster bed outside the church
under the D’Urberville window which is in the south wall.
ATHELHAMPTONHis father probably worked on the restoration
of the fine timbered roof in the 15th. century Great Hall, one of the finest
examples of that era’s domestic architecture in the country. Essentially
a medieval house, surrounded by walls and courts, Athelhampton has been
a family home for centuries.He painted a water colour of the buildings.Take the A35Map
AthelhallThe authors home in the South West of England, UK.
PUDDLETOWNHis grandfather and great grandfather both
came from here, as did other relations.The 15th. century church is memorable
for its fine west gallery, home to a long tradition of music making.There is a superb oak roof in the nave.Take the A354, B3142Map
WeatherburyCelebrated in Under the Greenwood Tree.Fanny Robin was buried in the churchyard
and Troy spent a night in the porch in Far From the Madding Crowd.
On the right you will see Waterston
Manor surrounded by a beech hedge. He based his architectural
description of Bathsheba’s farmhouse on this Jacobean Manor as featured
in Far from the Madding Crowd.Take the B3142, B3143, Piddletrenthide.
FarmFar from the Madding Crowd.
CERNE ABBASHalf timbered Tudor houses back unto stone
cottages.Gatehouse and tithe barn remain from 10th.
century Abbey.Famous for the enormous Cerne Giant
(thought to be a pagan fertility symbol) cut into the chalk outside the
village on the hill side, 180 ft. from head to foot, 1500 years old and
cared for by the locals.Cerne GiantNorth east of Cerne, in the area of High
Stoy Hill and the Cross-in-Hand, there are extensive views of
the western end of Blackmore Vale.Take the A352, A37Map
Abbot’s CernelAt the time of the expected French invasion
of Wessex it was rumoured, in The Dynasts, that “Boney” (Napoleon
Bonaparte) lived on human flesh and ate”rashers o’ baby for breakfast, for
all the world like the Cerne Giant in old ancient times.”The great barn in Far from the Madding
Crowd owes some of its architectural features to the ancient tithe
barn in the village.Cerne Abbas also figures in The Woodlanders
and in Tess of the D’Ubervilles.
DORCHESTER”Shut in by a square wall of trees,
like a plot of garden ground by a box edging …. compact as a box of dominoes”,Dorchester is at the heart of both himself
and his work.He attended schools here and at the age
of nine played the fiddle at weddings and dances.He made his home here in 1883, moving from
Shire-Hall Place to the house he designed and had built by his brother
on the outskirts of the town, Max Gate, in 1885.Max Gate centre of literatureIt is now owned by the National Trust and
open to the public.39 South Street was the home and office
of John Hicks, the architect for whom He worked between 1856 and
1862, whilst articled he continued to educate himself studying Greek, Latin
and Theology in the early hours of the morning. By his late teens he had
begun to write poetry. William Barnes, the Dorset poet and friend
and mentor of his, lived and kept his school next door.At the Top o’ Town is the Hardy memorial
sculpted by Eric Kennington and erected in 1931.Statue of HeRoman remains include amphitheatre adapted
from Stone Age circle; and villa with mosaics.The Dorset County Museum has a collection
of his manuscripts.Head east on London road, B3150, Kingston


CasterbridgeIt is the antiquity of Dorchester that
He stresses in The Mayor of Casterbridge:”Casterbridge announced old Rome in
every street, alley and precinct. It looked Roman, bespoke the art of Rome,
concealed dead men of Rome”.There are many buildings in Dorchester
associated with Him:-St. Peter’s Church, The Kings Arms
Hotel, The Corn Exchange, Barclay Bank (Henchard’s house) and Grey’s
Bridge, all of which figure in The Mayor of Casterbridge, Far from the
Madding Crowd, The Trumpet Major, and Under the Greenwood Tree.
STINSFORDHe requested that he be buried in the churchyard
which surrounds the church where he was christened and his family served
for many years. At his death, however, his ashes were interred in Westminster
Abbey and only his heart was buried in Stinsford churchyard, in the grave
of his wife and adjacent to other members of the family. In the church
are other family memorials and a stained glass window with an inscription
to the writer himself.Cecil Day Lewis, the Poet Laureate
is also buried here.Return to A35, turn rightMap
MellstockFeatures in Under the Greenwood Tree
and a number of poems.Stinsford Church typically English.
HIGHERm BOCKHAMPTONFollow the signposts to the car park, from
which a short walk takes you to his Cottage. This was the birthplace
of Hardy on 2nd. June 1840, the son and grandson of master stonemasons.He's Cottage.The cottage was built in 1801 by his great
grandfather and He wrote Under the Greenwood Tree and Far from
the Madding Crowd here.Acquired by the National Trust in 1947.
Bluebell filled woods (in spring) nearby.Head south for 1 mile.Map
Upper MellstockFeatures in Under the Greenwood Tree.
LOWER BOCKHAMPTONThe Old School House is at the corner
junction on entering the village. It was built and endowed by Mrs Julia
Martin of Kingston Maurward House in 1847 and He was one of the first pupils.Go south over the River Frome.Map
Lower MellstockFeatures in Under the Greenwood Tree.
WEST STAFFORDThe church is in the village.Continue east.Map Tess and Angel were apparently
married here in Tess of the D’Ubervilles.Lower Lewell Farm, outside the village,
is the most probable site for Talbothays Dairy.
WOODSFORDOn the edge of the village is the unusual
thatched Woodsford Castle. In 1856 his father was engaged by John Hicks
to undertake repairs on the building. The young Hardy helped with preliminary
drawings at the castle, and on the strength of these was offered an architectural

You are advised that these pages are copyright – 16th November 1999

Useful for students of English literature and authors.

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