Following on from the successful Birthplace Outreach Work funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Hardy’s Birthplace now has opportunities for those with health inequalities to engage in worthwhile work and reap the benefits of being out in nature.

Hardy Hands is a volunteering opportunity set up by the rangers for those who are living with mild mental health difficulties. Attendees are normally referred from mental health support networks but self referral can occur via Natural Choices.

Stepping into Nature is a project providing nature based activities for older people including those living with Dementia. The Rangers are proud to be part of this innovative project and provide year round activities.

Self guided Walkabout leaflets give you the courage to walk somewhere new. Why not try the 3 trails nearby?

Please contact the Hardy's Birthplace Team for more information.

Steps to Wellbeing

Mental wellbeing means feeling good – about ourselves and the world around us – and functioning well. In times or change or stress it is easy to overlook the simple things that make us feel better about the world and others.

The five steps that we can take to improve our mental wellbeing are simple when you know what to do and where to go, so why not give it a try here at Hardy’s Birthplace? You may feel happier, more positive and able to get the most from your life.

Step 1: Connect

Taking time to strengthen and broaden relationships is good for your wellbeing, and good for the wellbeing of the other people involved.  Arrange a visit to Thorncombe Wood with friends and family, enjoy the café, information in the Visitor Centre and connect with the living world around you.

Step 2: Be active

Take a walk on paths around the woods or dare to explore further into the coppice, heath and open wooded area near to Hardy’s Cottage. The flat cycle ride over the water meadows from Dorchester and along the stream to Lower Bockhampton is shady and beautiful, then the steady climb to Thorncombe can be rewarded with a great cake and drinks from Under the Greenwood Tree Café.

Step 3: Keep learning

Thorncombe Wood is perfect for learning. What bird is that? What tree is that? Why has that plant been cut down? The site is steeped in history; learn about the Roman Road and submerge yourself in the landscape that inspired Thomas Hardy’s writings.

Step 4: Give to others 

Evidence shows that what we do and the way we think has a big impact on mental wellbeing. Share your new found place with others, give some time to volunteer at Hardy’s Birthplace Visitor Centre or to look after the woodland.

Step 5: Take notice

Take time to look at the landscape around you. Watch the trees move in the wind and the sun stream through the canopy. Hear your heart beat as you walk up the slopes, notice yourself calm as you sit by the pond and listen. Come back again and again to see how the passing of the seasons changes the landscape.


Hardy's Birthplace Team

Name: Hardy's Birthplace Visitor Centre
Tel: 01305 251228
Full contact details

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