A walk in the woods around Hardy’s Cottage

One of the things I love about having National Trust membership is being able to use it to break up long car journeys. A stop-off at a National Trust property is so much nicer than stopping at service stations. It’s been a while since we last used our National Trust membership though. The last time was on our last holiday with Jessica, when we visited Bembridge Windmill. I hadn’t been able to face visiting any of our usual places, or previous stop-off points without her.


Nearly nine months on, we were heading home from our first family holiday without Jessica. Being at Coombe Mill had been just what was needed to make a difficult festive period a little easier. We were heading off to visit my family in Hampshire and decided to break up the journey with a visit to Hardy’s Cottage near Dorchester.


Sophie standing in the lane with Hardy's Cottage in the background - "A walk in the woods around Hardy's Cottage"


Entry to the cottage and garden is by timed ticket only. It is about a 15-minute walk from the visitor centre to the cottage. Traffic delays meant that we were later arriving than we’d hoped. It was 3pm when we finally pulled in to the car park; too late for the last entry to the cottage which was at 3.15pm that day. The woods around the cottage are open any time though so we headed through the woods towards the cottage for a walk.


Sophie and Daddy walking through the woods


There are several trails through the woodlands around Hardy’s Cottage. We followed the pink path which is the shortest trail, leading straight to Hardy’s Cottage. This path is accessible for buggies although is quite steep in places.


Sophie and Daddy walking through the woods



We had to stop a few times on the way as Sophie complained that there was something in her wellies. This is a frequent grumble with her on walks. I’ve never known a child get stones in wellies so often! Most of the time we go to empty her welly and there doesn’t seem to be anything there that we can see. Still, it fixes the problem – at least for a few minutes anyway!


Me with Thomas in the sling, holding Sophie's hand


It was a shame that we were too late to visit the cottage itself – it looked so pretty from the outside. The path took us along the back wall of the cottage towards a memorial. This was a good place to stop for a snack and to feed Thomas who was starting to grumble!


Sophie walking down the lane next to Hardy's Cottage towards the memorial


Hubby and Sophie sitting on the memorial next to Hardy's Cottage


While we were sitting there, a little robin came over to say hello. It perched on a branch for a while looking at Sophie and singing away. I often think robins are one of the signs Jessica sends us to let us know she is near and I wasn’t surprised at all to see this one. It made me smile to see it singing at Sophie.


Sophie looking at a robin in the trees



The sun was starting to set as we headed back to the car. It looked so pretty shining through the trees.


Sophie and Daddy walking through the woods towards the setting sun

Sophie started to get a little tired on the way back, especially with the path being quite steep in places. Pretending one of the uphill sections was a mountain to climb helped encourage her on though.


Sophie and Daddy walking through the woods towards the setting sun


A short walk through the woods was a lovely way to break up our journey. I’d quite like to come back again though to visit the cottage and explore some of the other paths through the woods.



Visiting Hardy’s Cottage – what you need to know:


Hardy’s Cottage
Higher Bockhampton


Hardy’s Cottage is open most days from 11am. Closing times vary depending on the season. For information about opening times, visit the website here.


Country Kids linky

5 thoughts on “A walk in the woods around Hardy’s Cottage

  1. We do just the same with National Trust properties, they are the most amazing way to break up a long journey. Much better than just going to a service station where the children have to sit down! The woods and the cottage both look lovely, definitely worth going back to see inside. Nice that you can still have a walk even when the cottage is closed though. I love how robins always seem to join you on your days out as a little reminder from Jessica that she’s near.

  2. What a beautiful time of day to visit, the light is stunning, it must have felt so much later than it really was. Lovely to see the friendly robin watching over. Longer boots is the answer to Sophie’s problems, I have exactly the same issue with mine! #CountryKids

  3. A pity you didn’t get to look around inside. Perhaps on another trip that way when they are both older and can take in more. #CountryKids

  4. Shame you missed visiting the house but the walk sounds lovely and you got to see Jessica’s robin!! It’s a great idea to break journeys with a visit somewhere. We’ve usually got so far to travel these days that we just keep driving but we must stop off more often! #CountryKids

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