Lovers in Dorset can send sweet nothings from a special 'romantic' postbox – one of just four of its kind in the UK.

Ahead of Valentine's Day, the Royal Mail has unveiled four boxes dedicated to 'the greatest British romantic writers' – and Dorset's own Thomas Hardy is one of them.

It is based near Hardy's Cottage at Cuckoo Lane, Higher Bockhampton, and is adorned with lines from his most famous works – including Far From the Madding Crowd – as well as from his personal notebooks.

One of the quotes, from Far From The Madding crowd, reads: “Love is a possible strength in an actual weakness".

Another, from the same title, is: “I shall do one thing in this life – one thing certain – that is love you, and long for you, and keep wanting you till I die”.

Dr Karin Koehler of the Hardy Society said: "Thomas Hardy might be a surprising choice for a Valentine's Day celebration, but he is a wonderful one.

"One of his best-loved novels, Far from the Madding Crowd, features an unconventional Valentine's Day greeting, which is sent in jest and sparks a fatal romantic obsession.

"But this novel, like Hardy's work in general, also shows us that the strongest bonds - between lovers, between friends, or between relatives – are founded not on passion or infatuation, but on the sturdier foundation of loving-kindness."

The other three postboxes – dedicated to John Keats, Anna Seward and Robert Burns – are located across the UK and will be in place for a month.

Mark Street, head of campaigns at Royal Mail said the postboxes are aimed at encouraging 'lovelorn wordsmiths' to send their own literary masterpieces this year.

“As one of the guardians of the written word, we relish the opportunity to celebrate the life and times of Britain’s most treasured writers", he added.

"With such a rich history of producing some of the most famous romantic works of all time, it seems only fitting that their work is honoured on some of our iconic postboxes.”