Corfe Castle from the South seen through dawn mist. This is one of Britain's most magnificent ruins and can be seen here with a graveyard in the foreground.

Corfe Castle from the South seen through dawn mist. This is one of Britain’s most magnificent ruins and can be seen here with a graveyard in the foreground. ©National Trust Images/Matthew Antrobus


For further information on any of the items below, please email:

Chairman’s Introduction

For those of you who may be unaware, our Association President and Founder Member, Rosemary Hunter, passed away on 1st August 2018. Over a period of 24 years she had served in various roles on the Committee, specialising in organising annual holidays – with great success. She had an extensive knowledge of NT properties throughout the country and was passionate about both the Association and fundraising for NT, especially for Enterprise Neptune. She will be greatly missed.

Following our recent appeals for more people to assist in running the Association, we have received a couple of offers to help share the workload but we still need a few more volunteers to perform various roles. Please give some more thought to this and come and talk to me – without further volunteer support our Association will not survive for long; two local Associations will cease operation at the end of 2018.

As you will be aware, National Trust has a new Director General and, more locally, we have a new General Manager for North & West Dorset – Hannah Jefferson – who will address us at our AGM in November. Also, a new NT Curator has been appointed to cover our area and we plan to invite her to address us next year. At a regional level there is also now a new Director for the South-West region.

I hope you have had an opportunity to view the urns that the Association paid for to replace those at the entrance to the house at Max Gate (pictured on page 5). They reproduce urns from Hardy’s time and are made of Coade stone. We expect to have a surplus from our activities again this year and will decide where donations will be made when we receive “Wish Lists” from properties in the area later in the year. We hope to announce these at the AGM.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the events planned for the winter programme – a mixture of talks, social events and a coach trip – which your Committee Members have arranged for you. Please note that the venues for the Coffee Morning and Supper Evening & Quiz have changed – see event details.

Geoffrey Wrench




Hardy's Birthplace

Hardy’s Birthplace ©National Trust Images/Robert Morris

Hard Times & Hungry Months – November 2018 to February 2019

Our vision of Victorian country life is a myth. Visit Hardy’s Cottage during the winter and discover how hard life was in the darkest months. Feel the frost in the air and see the landscape stripped bare. Learn how Victorian families survived during this harsh season.

Christmas at Hardy’s Cottage

All through December you can enjoy a warm festive welcome with the cottage decked for Christmas. Come and warm your toes by the open fire.

Winter Words – 8th and 16th December: 12.00 mid-day to 2.00 pm

Join the New Hardy Players as they weave together a verbal anthology of Hardy’s favourite wintry words, against the backdrop of his beloved childhood home.

Clouds Hill

Clouds Hill – doorway


The Taking of Damascus – October 2018

Marking the footsteps and exploits of T.E. Lawrence 100 years on, during the last month of his Arabian campaign at the end of WW1 – his “Road to Damascus”.



Max Gate

Max Gate – view from garden




Tess: A Pure Woman – November 2018 and January / February 2019

Thomas Hardy controversially subtitled Tess of the d’Urbervilles “A Pure Woman” and later wrote that he had “lost his heart to Tess as he wrote about her”. Delve into one of Hardy’s most famous novels and find out about the stories that lie behind it.

Tuneful Stories – 3rd November, 1st December, 7th December and 23rd December 2018

Three performances each day between 1.00 pm and 4 pm. Limited seating on a first-come-first-served basis. Tim Laycock brings Hardy’s home to life with music and stories.

Flute & Harp with Virginia and Florence Astley – 4th November 2018: 12 mid-day, 2.00 pm and 3.30 pm.

Music, stories and poetry from Hardy’s time.

Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle © Herbythyme, Corfe Castle stitch 2, CC BY-SA 4.0



14th to 16th, 21st to 23rd and 28th to 30th December 2018 – 5 pm to 7 pm



Christmas is a magical time at Corfe Castle. Take in the festive atmosphere with contemporary lanterns, braziers, beacons and lighting as you explore the castle grounds. There will be tasters of mulled wine and festive treats to purchase and eat in the tea-room by the log-fire. The shop will be open for Christmas gifts. Please bring a torch.




Changes to Car Parking at National Trust Sites

For more information on car parking, the National Trust provide a useful summary of FAQs here

Portland House Open Days – 2018

Autumn Opening
Portland House, Belle Vue Road, Weymouth DT4 8RZ

Perching on the hillside overlooking Portland Harbour, Portland House is a stunning reminder of a glamorous bygone age. For three days only this Autumn, visitors are invited to walk up the palm-lined path and explore the house with its original Art Deco features. Booking is not required and entrance is free to NT members – remember to take your NT membership card. Please note there are steps both inside and outside the House and some uneven paths within the garden.

View from Portland House

View from Portland House – Photo by Brian Tait

Portland House - The Terace

Portland House – The Terace. Photo by Brian Tait








In Autumn 2018 this beautiful Art Deco villa will be open to the public on the afternoon of Friday 5th October (2 pm – 5 pm), Saturday 6th October (from 11 am – 5 pm) and Sunday 7th October (from 11 am – 4 pm).


Events at Max Gate

Clouds Hill

1918 – The Road to Damascus
The travels and exploits of T E Lawrence in Arabia during 1918, month-by-month, are explored in a series of leaflets – each month a new one will be given to visitors.

Letter Writing
Visitors can write their own letter using special paper and envelopes which recreate the letterhead used by T E Lawrence. The envelope has a facsimile of one of the postage stamps he designed during WW1, when he was helping with the Arab revolt against Turkish rule.

Please note:

National Trust South Dorset Association has withdrawn its requirement that applicants for membership be National Trust members or volunteers.  

Anyone who supports the aims of the National Trust may now apply for association membership.

Membership News:

Please remNT Logoember that subscriptions fall due on 1st September.

Please send your cheques payable to NT South Dorset Association (£4.00 single/£7.00 family membership) to the Membership Secretary

Please email:  for contact details

Why not make a saving by paying by Standing Order (£3.00 single/£5.00 family membership)

We need your help!

We urgently need volunteers to join the Committee, including the positions of Chairman and Secretary.  Without new volunteers we will not have enough people to continue running the Association! Plenty of assistance will be available.

If you are willing to help, please  email:


Thank you

Can we have your e-mail address, please?

From time to time the committee obtains details of Trust events which will be of interest to all members. We can only pass on this information to you quickly by email.

If you are willing for us to contact you in this way please send your e-mail address to

We will not pass on your address to any other organisation.

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