A merry band of 10 members (all correctly booked in, including a visitor from the Devon group) set off through Thorncombe Wood to enjoy the autumnal delights of Thomas Hardy country from cradle to grave. Having discovered the cottage in the woods where Thomas Hardy was born we traversed Puddletown forest and then climbed up to the Ridgeway overlooking Dorchester.
Passing along the ridge with commanding views of the surrounding countryside and plenty of blackberries for snacking we descended through farmland to a local picnic spot for lunch, where we were joined by a further member and his dog.
After lunch we continued past Kingston Maurward House onto the pretty hamlet of Stinsford. Here in the graveyard of St Michael's Church we discovered Hardy’s grave and enjoyed the church flower festival displays. Continuing down a picturesque avenue alongside the river Frome we passed through the hamlet of Lower Bockhampton to reach Pine Lodge Farm, where we all enjoyed afternoon tea and farmyard frolicks before disappearing back into the woods to finish.