The new visitor centre at Hardy’s Birthplace, now enjoying its first summer, is thriving with the increase in visitor numbers, and new volunteers are being sought to help with the demand.
The centre provides information and facilities for visitors to both Thorncombe Woods and Hardy’s Cottage, and is run jointly by Dorset Countryside and the National Trust.
“In its first few months the centre has far surpassed our expectations,” said Martin Stephen, Visitor Services Manager with the National Trust. “The feedback from visitors has been so positive, now that there are facilities and they can get refreshments or lunch from Under the Greenwood Tree cafe, and find out more about the area in which Thomas Hardy grew up.
“We were always expecting to have a busy summer but the new film of Far from the Madding Crowd seems to have really touched a chord with the visitors. The shop has also been busier than we estimated too, so now we’d love more Welcome Volunteers to help greet the visitors, provide information and run the shop.”
Dorset Countryside and the National Trust manage the Welcome Volunteers jointly. They will be holding two drop-in sessions at the visitor centre for anyone interested in becoming a volunteer, where more information will be provided and questions answered, on Thursday 30 July between 2–5pm, and Saturday 1 August between 10am–1pm.