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New Thomas Hardy Visitors Centre To Be Built

Dorset Map

12:04am 9th December 2012

Thomas Hardy's Dorset birthplace is going to be transformed.

A new visitors centre costing nearly half a million pounds is going to be built next to the cottage at Thorncombe Woods near Dorchester.

The money for the project is coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Dorset County Council will be working with the National Trust to make it happen.

The new visitor centre will provide educational activities for schools and community groups to learn about the famous writer's life and works.

They'll also be improved access to the cottage where Hardy was born and educational trials through the woods.

Works due to start in September next year with the new visitor centre open by Easter 2014.

Councillor Robert Gould, cabinet member for the environment at Dorset County Council, said:

"It's great that we now have secured funding for this exciting project.

"Our aim has been to share the place and land that Thomas Hardy loved and drew inspiration from. The development will also mean that more facilities will be available for visitors to the site.

"Thomas Hardy had such a strong link to the place he lived and the landscapes that inspired him. We would like to use the project to help people learn more about Thomas Hardy and his writing, and relate it to the surrounding landscape."

Helen Sharp, the National Trust fund raising manager, said:

"We are really grateful for the support of Heritage Lottery Fund for this project. Thomas Hardy is a well respect literary figure around the world and through this we can improve the way visitors to Hardy's Birthplace understand him, his works and especially how his beloved Dorset influenced him throughout his life."

Richard Bellamy, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said:

"Far from the Madding Crowd and Tess of the d'Urbervilles are among the most famous works by literary great, Thomas Hardy, and have been inspiring aspiring authors and book-lovers across the world for many years. This project to improve visitor facilities will help to bring together his birthplace and the surrounding picturesque landscape for the first time helping people to better understand how his Dorset roots influenced his achievements.  HLF are sure that the new facilities will help Hardy's legacy live on well into the future."

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