Thorncombe Wood and Duddle Heath

A remnant of ancient woodland and adjacent heathland near Thomas Hardy's cottage  

Thorncombe wood

Thorncombe Wood: Thomas Hardy's home -

Right next to Thomas Hardy's Cottage, Thorncombe Wood is ancient woodland and is designated as a site of nature conservation interest. Along with neighbouring Duddle Heath it is an interesting site as it contains a mixture of habitat with a large area of broad-leaved trees and some conifer plantation on an underlying foundation of heath. It also features a pond and as a result of this diversity of habitat it follows there will be a diverse array of flora attracting a number of different insects.

Reptiles find the habitat ideal and the 'rushy pond' is a good place for grass snake and newts as well as damselflies and dragonflies. We have also seen Adders on the more open heathland areas.

The woodland is ideal for spring flowers and autumn fungi and so, all in all, something for everyone!

There is a fair size car park (charges apply), an information display and a recently opened tea room. It can be busy, especially at weekends and during the holidays, due to the number of visitors to nearby Thomas Hardy's cottage but once you get away from the cottage into the wild it is much, much quieter and a very pleasant area.  

Site Name Thorncombe Wood and Duddle Heath
Protection Local Authority
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Diversity High (150-200 species)
Map Reference SY725925
County Dorset
Website Dorset Council website
Site Habitats
Habitat Relationship
F2: Ponds


H1: Dry Heath


W1: Broad-leaf Woodland


W5: Conifer Plantation


Sites Photos

One of the highlights, Rushy Pond

Photo Date

Lots of wild, scrubby areas for wildlife

Photo Date

A good display of bluebells in spring

Photo Date
Site Diary
Diary Date Notes

Sunny again but the strong breeze never seems to go away

  • Lots of sand wasps on the path but they were too active to have any chance of identifying them
  • Rushy pond (see photo) seems to have been cleared; no damselflies today as a result
  • Only four butterflies of three species seen - in mid-June

There is no information about this visit


There is no information about this visit