Feature film of Hardy's 'Far From the Madding Crowd' has revealed the West Dorset. Much of the production was based in Beaminster and many of the locations are local to the hotel. Similarly, Broadchurch has placed West Bay firmly on the map with official walks available from Bridport Tourist Information and hotel reception.
Just a few miles inland from the sea takes you into the heart of Thomas Hardy's Wessex - and home to the BridgeHouse, Beaminster - where Angel Clare's father was vicar of the village, referred to as Emminster in 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles'. And it's where Tess walked 15 miles from Flintcomb-Ash to Emminster on a frosty winter's Sunday, desperately seeking support after Angel had left her.
Hardy's land is Dorset where he lived for most of his life and was the inspiration for much of his work. From the hotel you can take in Bridport (Port Bredy), Dorchester (Casterbridge), Stinsford (Mellstock), Puddletown (Weatherbury), Cerne Abbas (Abbot's Cernal) and, of course Hardy's birthplace at Higher Bockhampton (Upper Mellstock).
Hardy’s friend and fellow poet, William Barnes, shared a passion for Dorset and its towns, countryside and people. He had this to say about Beaminster – a description that remains true today.
Sweet Be’mi’ster, that bist a-bound
By green and woody hills all round
Wi’ hedges, reachen up between
A thousand vields o’ zummer green.