Frome Valley Park and the Hardy Trail

Our plans will not only allow visitors to view the landscape which inspired Thomas Hardy, but we’re also proposing a visitor centre to encourage tourism. We intend to link up the Hardy Trail through the new 200 acre Country Park, to allow tourists and locals alike to access the water meadows and local landscape easily.

A New 200 Acre Publicly Accessible Frome Valley Country Park

The Frome Valley Country Park and nature reserve is fundamental to the design of the North Dorchester Garden Community. Covering 200 acres, the new country park will be nearly seven times the size of the Great Field at Poundbury.

The country park and nature reserve will be centred around the existing water meadows, which are protected from development. 

What are the benefits of the new Frome Valley Country Park?

  • A network of accessible pathways or broadwalks for walkers, cyclists, wheelchairs, pushchairs and mobility scooters would be created in the country park, giving public access to land which is currently private and inaccessible by many potential users for recreation.
  • The country park will enable residents to walk and cycle from the town centre, through the water meadows into the North Dorchester Garden Community.
  • The new nature reserve will preserve existing wetland habitats for wildlife and encourage more ecology to flourish in and around the river through a programme of sensitive restoration. 
  • Investment in new woodland planting in partnership with the Forestry Commission will help mitigate climate change and reduce the risk of flooding. No development will take place within the existing floodplain and a new sustainable urban drainage system will help manage water levels.
  • New woodland planting will also aid nature recovery and provide wider environmental benefits.

Country Park Visitor Centre

The new Frome Valley Park will feature a visitor centre, the Frome Valley Park Pavilion, which will orientate users of the water meadows and provide a focus for heritage trails in and around the town. Cafe facilities are likely to be provided within this facility, providing an attractive hub for the town.

Connecting the Hardy Trail

A new extension to the Hardy Trail will traverse the water meadows within the new Frome Valley Park, enabling residents and visitors to appreciate the history of the Frome Valley which is presently inaccessible. It will provide connection to the Hardy assets, linking Kingston Maurwood and Charminster via the water meadows and providing a new perspective on the historic county town.