A rural idyll - the childhood home of Thomas Hardy's mother is for sale
A cottage where Thomas Hardy's mother was born and spent her childhood is being marketed through Jackson-Stops & Staff. 1 Barton Hill Cottages is in Melbury Osmond, the picturesque Dorset village that inspired one of Hardys best loved novels, The Woodlanders. Hardy was born in Dorset in 1840. On returning to Dorset as an adult, he began to write as a means of making money, thus began his Wessex novels based around Dorset and the surrounding areas. Wessex, originally thought of as a fictional county, was later revealed to be based on Dorset.

The cottage itself epitomises the romantic style of Hardy and the beautifully conserved village reflects the rural idyll. The thatched three bedroom cottage dates back to 1640 and has been carefully preserved, featuring an original ham stone, but with modern touches, such as a newly fitted bathroom. The cottage has a large garden with good views and its south facing position gives much natural light to both house and garden. The setting of the cottage is peaceful,in a quiet cul-de-sac, close to many footpaths including Illchesters deer park.

Charlie Bladon, director of Jackson-Stops and Staff in Sherborne, said: The property is not only rich in literary history but is set in one of the most well-preserved and beautiful villages in the area. Melbury Osmond is unusually private, in a no-through road, with predominantly period houses that have been described by architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner in the Dorset edition of Buildings of England as worthy of a picture book. The village lies in an Area of Outstanding Beauty, but is still close to good transport links and shops such as those found in Yeovil six miles away, including a train service to London. 1 Barton Hill Cottages is on the market for 395,000 with the Sherborne offices of Jackson-Stops & Staff.