Towns worthy of a visit whilst you’re with us include Sherborne, Shaftesbury, Blandford Forum, Dorchester, Beaminster and Cerne Abbas, home of the famous giant. Thomas Hardy wrote his novel ‘Return of the Native’ whilst living in Sturminster Newton in Riverside, a stone mansion on the edge of town. Here there’s the 15th century mediaeval bridge, with six arches over the River Stour, that still carries the penalty of ‘Transportation for Life’ for anyone who damages it. The bridge is the one featured in Hardy’s poem ‘On Sturminster Bridge’. The village of Cranborne on nearby Cranborne Chase is Hardy’s village of Chaseborough. The Hardy Heritage Trail is well worth following.