When it comes to describing this mythical, magical land of Wessex where we are lucky enough to be situated, there is no better exponent than Thomas Hardy. His novels, set in 19th century Dorset have come to define the area, and thanks to the slow pace of life hereabouts, it is easy to imagine when you visit that nothing has changed.
The beauty and majesty of the Dorset countryside certainly hasn’t. And that’s why sourcing locations for the 2015 film version of Hardy’s first published novel, Far From The Madding Crowd, was not difficult. In the novel, in which Hardy resurrected the old Saxon name of Wessex, the main action takes place in the village of Weatherbury. He is thought to have based this fictional place on the quaintly-named Dorset village of Puddletown. The other town mentioned is Casterbridge, based on Dorset’s County town of Dorchester, made famous in its own right by another of Hardy’s novels, The Mayor of Casterbridge.
Modern day locations for the latest of four film versions of the novel to be made used Dorchester as a location, but other scenes were shot in the Dorset towns and villages of Mapperton, Beaminster, Sherborne, West Bay, Durdle Door and Eype.
If you haven’t read the book, the story centres on Bathsheba Everdene, a strong, independent woman who attracts three very different suitors; the dependable Gabriel Oak, prosperous and mature William Bolderwood and a reckless sergeant, William Troy. The novel sets the story of romantic entanglement against the background of the rural life so beloved of Hardy.
Here in Ansty, we are lucky enough to be situated in the heart of all the locations mentioned in the book and the film, both literally and imaginatively. In fact, his cottage (pictured) is to be found just a few miles down the road from us at The Fox!
Come and see Far From The Madding Crowd’s locations for yourself and immerse yourself in the beating heart of Hardy country. The peaceful charm of the area will draw you in as the novels do and will make for a wonderful, relaxing stay.
Walking in West Dorset is one of the best ways to experience the county of Hardy and Fowles.
From the dramatic wonder of nature’s own sea barrier, Chesil Beach, to the man-made beauty of Lyme Regis’s harbour wall, The Cob, the world-famous Jurassic coastline is the setting for a number of spectacular walks combining rural landscapes with jaw-dropping views and mighty cliffs.
Take the South West Coastal Path from Burton Bradstock to Langdon Hill or Golden Cap to Abbotsbury, where the black swans reside, and you will see that the West Dorset coastline is full of surprises.
But head inland and there is another wealth of country to explore, with Dorset’s famous rolling hills and pretty villages. From the old iron age fort of Lambert’s Castle in Marshwood to the famous Cerne Abbas Giant, there are a multitude of walks, long and short, to suit all types of walkers, from the day trippers and dog walkers from Bournemouth and Poole to the more serious hikers that come to experience Dorset in all its splendour.
If you are a serious walker, The Wessex Ridgeway (part of the ancient national Great Ridgeway) can take you all the way from the Wiltshire / Dorset border in the north of the County to Lyme Regis in the south, passing through Cerne Abbas and the stunning Blackmore and Marshwood Vales on the way.
If you are looking for a base to enjoy your walking from, or a place to stay after a healthy hike, why not choose us - The Fox at Ansty, a genuine Dorset Inn and Hotel in the centre of one of the County’s prettiest villages. With its tasty menus, featuring local seasonal Game, and cosy bedrooms, it’s the ideal place to relax over a night, a weekend or longer.
We’re very dog-friendly, so no need to worry about where they will sleep!
If you need more information on The Fox at Ansty’s superb accommodation and menus (and maybe some lovely West Dorset walks! ) just follow our links or call us on 01258 880328.
The team from the Fox Inn Ansty.
How to find us...
The Fox Inn, Ansty, Dorchester, Dorset
DT2 7PN - Click here for Google Map
Tel: 01258 880328
Click for our Enquiry Form & Email
Our Usual Opening Hours:
Hotel: Check-in - 3.00pm Check-out: 10.00am
Monday to Saturday: 12.00am - 11.00pm
Sunday: 12.00am - 11.00pm
Carvery: Sundays - 12.00pm until 3.00pm
Afternoon Teas: Mon to Fri 3 to 6pm, Sun 4 to 6pm
Food Served: 12 to 2.30pm and 6 to 9pm
Breakfasts are served each morning from 8.00am to 9.30am. We will cater for non-residents.