One of the most unspoilt places in England is the Blackmore Vale which stretches across North Dorset. This is the countryside that inspired Thomas Hardy and features as the Vale of the Little Dairies in his novels.
In the village of Marnhull the Blackmore Vale Inn is a beautiful 16th century pub that is also a character from Thomas Hardy's novels. This is the illicit drinking den, Rollivers, which features in Tess of the D'Urbervilles.
Today the pub still stands with its open stone fireplaces and wood beams. There are old farm implements which would have been used in Hardy's day, and in a corner a picture of the man himself. But this is no tourist trap. In fact it is a quiet country pub used mostly by the locals and is one of Dorset's best kept secrets.
There are local ciders and beers on tap from Fursty Ferret to Rosie's Pig, and many more. There are light bar meals and a quiet restaurant which is really popular. Favourite foods include the bison burger from nearby Bush Farm Bison Centre, and the local lamb. For hungry visitors the half lamb shoulder also known as a Boulder is highly recommended.
This is a wonderful welcoming pub with a history and literary connections and is the perfect introduction to what a country pub should be like.