When we were in the Lake District it was natural for us to visit properties relating to William Wordsworth. Sometimes several times.
And when we’re in Dorset, it’s only proper to then visit properties relating to Thomas Hardy. Or one of them at least – Hardy’s birthplace or Hardy’s Cottage.
Again, it has been 30 years since the last time I was here and, again, it’s changed quite a lot.
Well, the house itself is pretty much the same, but it’s busier and the teeny tiny car park that used to be is much, much bigger.
Something else that’s new is the possibility to help yourself to potatoes grown in the kitchen garden here. I wonder if the same applies to other produce.
There’s a birthplace visitor centre at the house too, and a woodland walk. Once again, dogs are allowed in the grounds so long as they are kept on leads, and there are water bowls for them too. But they’re not allowed in the house.
This is usually fine as one of us waits outside with the dog while the other one goes around. But only 8 visitors are allowed upstairs at a time and this can mean long waits.
So we both only looked at the downstairs and enjoyed the lovely little cottage garden in the sunshine.
As we’d walked through the woodland to get to the house, we chose to walk back via the lane to the car park, where we saw this row of cottages (right).
Then we were back in the car and back on the road and heading south-west towards Weymouth and Portland.
We drove along Chesil Beach, something I didn’t do on any of the last 2 visits to the area. And we carried on to Portland and the home of Portland stone.
We were headed towards something on the map called “Rufus” (in red), but we didn’t find it and we have no idea what it was/is.
And as I’d never been to Portland Bill (unless we came when I was a baby, and don’t remember it), and as the poet had asked for a visit to see the sea today, that’s where I navigated us to.
We both loved it. It was fine and dry but windy, so the waves were crashing against the rocks.
One particular boulder has a carved sign on it saying visitors climb at their own risk as it’s liable to erosion … but of course, there’s always someone that has to have a go, and there are hand and foot holes up that flat face of rock.
The picture on the left, above, though, is for perspective. (We have no idea who those people are.)
We didn’t visit the lighthouse. It was already late in the day and it was quite windy. But we did take a few photographs.
The picture below shows the current lighthouse in the foreground and an older one in the background. There’s a third lighthouse here too, but we don’t know if they were ever in use.