Work on new Thomas Hardy visitor centre gets under way

Dorset County Council
Image caption Work on a new visitor centre near Thomas Hardy's birthplace at Higher Bockhampton is under way
Dorset County Council
Image caption Expected to open next summer, it is hoped it will "guide visitors" through the landscape Hardy loved
Thomas Hardy's cottage
Image caption Thomas Hardy's cottage, where the author and poet was born in 1840, will be located near the new centre

Work has begun on a new visitor centre being built at the Dorset birthplace of author and poet Thomas Hardy.

The £949,000 project, which secured £495,000 lottery funding in December 2012, is expected to open next summer.

The centre in Higher Bockhampton will provide information about a new route through Thorncombe Wood to nearby Hardy's Cottage.

The project is a joint partnership between Dorset County Council and the National Trust.

The trust said the new timber-built visitor centre had been "sensitively designed" to have minimal impact on the landscape.

There will also be space for school and community groups, as a small catering area with toilets and some retail space.

As well as funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project also received donations from as number of organisations including the Garfield Weston Trust and the Thomas Hardy Society.

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