Did you know that Thomas Hardy helped draw up plans to remodel an ancient castle in the heart of West Dorset?

Woodsford Castle is a rare survivor of one side of a medieval fortified manor house.

It stands today on the banks of the River Frome as a large three-storey building complete with thatched roof.

Read more: When you could buy Brownsea Island for £250k

The castle, between Dorchester and Crossways, was originally built in about 1337, when William de Whitefield was given permission to crenellate his house at 'Wyrdesford'.

By 1630 however, it was described as 'almost ruinated', and the crenellations were replaced in 1660 by a large thatched roof.

Dorset Echo:

Thomas Hardy

In 1856 Thomas Hardy's father was engaged by John Hicks to undertake repairs on the building.

The young Hardy helped with preliminary drawings at the castle, and it was on the strength of these that he was offered an architectural apprenticeship with him.

Dorset Echo:

Inside Woodsford Castle

Woodsford Castle is now owned by the Landmark Trust and although it is not open to the public it can easily be seen from the road.

The castle is available to rent from the trust and occasionally it opens its doors at special heritage weekends.