Thorncombe Wood Local Nature Reserve
This magical pocket of mixed woodland and heath is listed on the Ancient Woodland Inventory.
The 26 hectare mixed woodland and heath site is home to a great diversity of trees including mature Oaks, Sweet Chestnut and Beech. The woodland gives way to Black Heath, an area of birch, bracken and heath with its own herd of Dartmoor ponies. Rushy Pond is a small watering hole for many birds, mammals, damselflies and dragonflies.
Running through the site is a well preserved Roman road. This Scheduled Ancient Monument, would have stretched from Dorchester to Badbury Rings. There are a lots of paths to explore both the site and further afield using the local rights of way to Puddletown Forest and Dorchester.
Thomas Hardy's childhood landscape
The site is also adjacent to Hardy's Cottage, birthplace of novelist and poet Thomas Hardy. Black Heath is now a small fragment of the once famous Hardy's Egdon Heath and Rushy Pond is mentioned in 'The Withered Arm'. Visitors, wildlife enthusiasts, families and dog walkers are all encouraged to follow in Hardy's footsteps and explore the land that he portrayed in his novels such as 'The Woodlanders' and 'Return of the Native'.
The new Hardy's Birthplace Visitor Centre provides a gateway to the site and hosts displays, family activities, a ranger workshop, café, shop and toilet facilities. Several recommended routes and fun activities for children are available on leaflets in the visitor centre.
|Look out for|
Dormice, Common Lizards, Adders and Grass Snakes. Song Thrushes, Marsh Tits, Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, Dartford Warblers and Nightjars. Scare Hoverfly.
|Habitats||Woodland, heath and a pond|
|Nearest bus stop||A35 nr Dorchester or Kingston Maurward College - information about bus services|
|Nearest train station||Dorchester (Both) - information about train services|
|Grid reference||SY 725 921|
|Parking||On the site|
|Accessibility||Open Access area. No cycling or horse riding|
|Other activities in area|
|Owner||Dorset County Council|
|Managed by||Dorset County Council (Area Greenspace Management Team - West)|
How to get there
For directions, go to the Visiting Hardy's Birthplace page.