Tours designed for people who are hard of hearing are coming to National Trust sites across north and west Dorset

To mark Deaf Awareness Week, from Monday, May 6, to Sunday, May 12, the National Trust is introducing British Sign Language (BSL) tours at Thomas Hardy’s former homes.

The tours are designed to make the history of Dorset’s most famous writer more accessible. 

The first tour will take place at Hardy’s home, Max Gate, on Thursday May 9 at 10.30am.

Led by Carole Brown, a BSL volunteer, it will introduce visitors to the house that Hardy built in 1885.

Brimming with literary history, it was designed to reflect his position as a successful writer.

Max Gate is the space where Hardy wrote some of his most successful novels including Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure. 

Dorset Echo: Hardy's Cottage in the Spring. Hardy's Cottage in the Spring. (Image: National Trust, Arnhel de Serra)

A further tour will take place at his birthplace, Hardy’s Cottage, on Thursday, May 23 from 10am.

Built by his great-grandfather, this is the place where Hardy wrote Under the Greenwood Tree and Far From the Madding Crowd.   

Elizabeth Flight, partnership and programming officer at the National Trust, said: “Thomas Hardy has such strong cultural associations for the people of Dorset.

"We are always looking for ways to improve accessibility and help as many people as possible enjoy the places where he lived and wrote”.  

There will be further BSL tours later in the year at T. E. Lawrence’s former home, Clouds Hill, on Wednesday, June 19 at 11am, and Hardy Monument on Saturday, July 13 at 12pm.  

To book a place on any of the tours email