World famous sanctuary for hundreds of nesting swans. From mid-
Home of the Tank Museum, the world's largest and finest collection of armoured fighting vehicles (open 10 am -
Founded by American, Jim Cronin, who died in March 2007, this is 65 acres of sanctuary for over 150 primates. Has featured on many TV programmes. Close to Bovington Camp. Open 10 am -
The ruined castle stands on a natural hill guarding the principal route through the Purbeck Hills. Nothing could pass in or out without going past the Castle. Held for the King by the Bankes family during the Civil War, it was subsequently blown up by the Parliamentarians. Bequeathed by the Bankes family to the National Trust in 1982. To see a representation of the castle in all its glory, go to the Corfe Castle Model Village and Gardens within the village itself. From just below the castle a steam railway runs regular services to Swanage.
The Piddle Valley is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and there are many walks and cycle trails close at hand. On the nearby coast the stretch of land between Portland and East Devon has been designated the Jurassic Coast and is a haven for fossil hunters.
Local Parts of Hardy’s Wessex
Puddletown (Hardy’s Weatherbury). The main location in Far from the Madding Crowd. Fanny Robin was buried in the churchyard and Troy spent a night in the porch.
Waterston Manor (Weatherbury Farm). Just before the hamlet of Lower Waterston on the B3142 in the direction of Puddletown. Home of Bathsheba in Far from the Madding Crowd.
Cerne Abbas (Abbot’s Cernel).
The famously well-
Hardy’s Casterbridge. Lots of museums: County Museum, Dinosaur Museum, Roman townhouse, Tutankhamun, Regimental Museum. Also Maumbury Rings (Roman amphitheatre). On the outskirts, you must see Maiden Castle (Britain’s largest Iron Age settlement). Tourist Inforrnation in Antelope Walk (off the High Street).
Essentially a medieval house, surrounded by walls and courts, Athelhampton has been a family home for centuries. Thomas Hardy painted a watercolour of the buildings. His father probably worked on the restoration of the fine timbered roof in the Great Hall, one of the best examples of 15th century domestic architecture in the country. Location for the 1972 film, Sleuth, with Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine.
Hardy’s Cottage, Higher Bockhampton
This was the birthplace of Thomas Hardy in 1840. The cottage was built in 1801 by Hardy’s great-
Joseph Damer, later Lord Milton and Earl of Dorchester, after converting the local mansion, formerly Milton Abbey, decided that the village spoilt his view. It was therefore demolished between 1770 and 1790 and he employed Capability Brown to landscape the area and rehouse the inhabitants in this ‘model’ village out of sight in the next valley. The wide village street therefore has 20 pairs of identical cob and thatch cottages little changed since that time.