Evocative cob and thatch cottage – birthplace of Thomas Hardy

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 grandfather and has been little altered since the family left.

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, even in winter. Once inside you will discover that 19th-century rural life, with its open hearths, small windows and stone floors, was not always idyllic.

The cottage sits next to Thorncombe Woods, owned and managed by Dorset County 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 County Council) you will find the new Hardy’s Birthplace Visitor Centre, run in partnership by Dorset County Council and the National Trust.

Opening Tines – Please note

Closed 24 & 25 December. Last admission 45 minutes before closing and dusk if earlier. Timed tickets may apply on certain days. Please note: Wednesdays and Sundays can be busy. On Mondays admission is by timed ticket only, available only online in advance from this website. Booking for these tickets, which applies to National Trust Members as well, is open for the 7 days leading up to the visit and closes on the Sunday. Admission on all days for all visitors, including National Trust members, is through visitor centre (open daily 10 to 4, café last orders 3.45), which is a 15 minute walk from the cottage.


Gift Aid Standard
Adult £7.00 £6.30
Child £3.50 £3.15
Family £17.50 £15.75
Group Adult

Minimum group size 15
N/A £5.50
Group Child

Minimum group size 15
N/A £2.75