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      our holidays > Walking Holidays > UK > A Taste of Hardy’s Wessex

A Taste of Hardy’s Wessex

The verdant scenery of Cranborne Chase
This Holiday in a nutshell
  • self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking, luggage transported
  • idyllic Downs scenery classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • pretty villages with duck ponds and thatched cottages
  • high-quality accommodation and cuisine


King John and Henry VIII used to hunt on Cranborne Chase, but that’s probably not the reason that you may recognise the chalk landscapes either side of the Dorset-Wiltshire border. If the rounded green hills, high-hedged lanes, ancient woodland, chalk escarpments and thatched villages do seem familiar, it’s more likely to be because this is scenery that inspired Hardy and formed the backdrop to novels such as Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

Rays from the sunrise drew forth the buds and stretched them into long stalks, lifted up sap in noiseless streams, opened petals, and sucked out scents in invisible jets and breathings.
'Tess of the d’Urbervilles', Thomas Hardy

Our short walking break, designed with the help of Margaret Marande, champion of Britain’s first literature-related long-distance path, follows parts of The Hardy Way across these seductive landscapes. Whether you have read the great novelist’s works or not, walking in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) brings a feeling of wellbeing that matches that of the sheep munching contentedly on the lush carpet of grass – topped off by the atmospheric inns of character at which you stay.

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 Average Temperatures & Rainfall
  J F M A M J J A S O N D
°C 7 7 10 13 16 19 21 21 18 15 10 8
mm 77 53 62 45 56 52 41 57 62 68 73 83

The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.

You should always be prepared for wet weather, whichever month you are travelling.