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Campaign started to save Thomas Hardy footpath

28th April 2010

Plans to move a historic footpath in Dorset have sparked protests from Thomas Hardy fans.

Tess Cottage, formerly Barton Cottage, is where the fictitious heroine of Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles was brought up in the novel and can be viewed from a nearby footpath.

However, the owner of the cottage has submitted an application to Dorset County Council requesting that the path is moved from a lane into the neighbouring field.

Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, explained that the suggested route has a number of trees and a thick hedge running down its side, which will prevent Hardy enthusiasts from viewing the cottage.

'We deplore the attempt to shift this important path to an inferior route. This route is an invaluable piece of Hardy heritage,' she added.

The Thomas Hardy Society has also raised an objection to the plans, saying the path itself is significant as it was ridden by Alec d'Urberville in the novel.

Hardy fans had some good news earlier this month, when Dorset County Museum in Dorchester acquired a series of rare play scripts and stage set models created by the author.

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