IMAGES of the forthcoming film adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd are helping to promote the Thomas Hardy trail in West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland.
A new leaflet helping visitors to explore parts of Dorset that inspired the great writer has been released features screen shots of the production shot in West Dorset last year.
The trail aims to link together the places he lived, the towns and villages he wrote about and the church where his heart is buried.
It also directs people to visitor attractions such as the Dorset County Museum, which boasts the largest Hardy collection in the world, and Athelhampton House and Gardens, which Hardy regularly visited.
The leaflet highlights the a number of the television and film adaptations of Hardy’s works that have been filmed in the area, particularly the recent version of Far from the Madding Crowd starring the likes of Carey Mulligan and Tom Sturridge that is due for release later this year.
The leaflet, which is available from Tourist Information Centres and can be downloaded at visit-dorset.com, has been published by the Thomas Hardy Society and the tourism team of West Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.
The updated version of the leaflet now also features information on Weymouth and Portland as well as West Dorset.
Leader of West Dorset District Council Robert Gould said: “Thomas Hardy gives Dorset a unique selling point, which helps our tourism industry to compete in domestic and international markets.
“This new leaflet will be distributed widely and will feature on our popular website visit-dorset.com “With the forthcoming release of Far from the Madding Crowd we can expect a lot of interest in Thomas Hardy in 2014."
Mike Nixon, secretary of the Thomas Hardy Society, added: “We were pleased to work with the councils’ tourism team to produce this new leaflet.
“As a society we are keen to encourage new interest in Thomas Hardy and this leaflet gives visitors a good overview of the beautiful area of Dorset in which he lived and worked.
“The leaflet should appeal to those already knowledgeable about Hardy as well as those wishing to learn more.”