Thomas Hardy's Cottage

Thomas Hardy's Cottage, in Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, is a small cob and thatch building that is the birthplace of the English author Thomas Hardy. He was born there in 1840 and lived in the cottage until he was aged 34—during which time he wrote the novels Under the Greenwood Tree (1872) and Far from the Madding Crowd (1874)—when he moved to the property he designed known as Max Gate.

The cottage was built by Hardy's great-grandfather in 1800. It is now a National Trust property, and a popular tourist attraction. The property has a typical cottage garden, and the interior displays furniture which, although not from the Hardy family, is original to the period. In 2006, fans of the author, including the Thomas Hardy Society, raised fears over plans to turn the property into a holiday home during the winter months; a Trust spokesperson defended the idea by saying "Buildings are conserved if people are living in them", although also said no decision had yet been taken. In summer 2012, there was a £700,000 bid made to the Heritage Lottery Fund to create a visitor's facility located near the cottage. Later that year, the body provided a grant of £495,000 which will—alongside donations from other sources—allow the project to go ahead; it is expected that work will begin in September 2013, with the centre open for Easter 2014. The project is a joint partnership between Dorset County Council and the National Trust. The property is situated on the northern boundary of Thorncombe Woods.

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