Mapperton’s elegant front courtyard was turned into a mud-caked 19th century farmyard for the filming of Far From the Madding Crowd, which is released in cinemas on 1 May. “The whole thing was turned into a complete swamp, all earth and stone,” reveals Lady Sandwich in an article in the Sunday Times today. “They put a heavy tarpaulin of some sort over all the grass in the courtyard, and on top of that they scattered mud and sand and stone and turned it into a very rough surface.”
Today the mud (and the chickens and the longhorn cows) are long gone, and visitors won’t find any trace of the transformation. Except perhaps for the sapling walnut tree, whose progenitor was sacrificed to make way for all that muck.