Project Description

Thomas Hardy’s Birthplace

A gateway to discovery

Situated next to Thorncombe Wood in Dorset, England, this was home to author Thomas Hardy. He was born in this cob and thatched cottage in 1840 and wrote several of his early short stories, poetry and novels here, including Under the Greenwood Tree and Far from the Madding Crowd. The aim was to transform Hardy’s birthplace into a memorable visitor experience and a valuable local resource while at the same time uniting the landscape, cottage and visitor centre.


Visitors are welcomed in to Hardy’s world via the graphic approach and interpretation elements – it is quaint and enchanting. A comprehensive wayfinding system was developed, complete with two interactive walking trails, allowing visitors to follow in Hardy’s footsteps and explore with all their senses. A suite of handbooks was developed offering a room-by-room guide to the cottage – there are surprises along the way! John Raftery also art directed and commissioned the illustrations.