Dorset should be doing more to promote its literary links to attract visitors to the county – councillors have been told.

Marshwood Vale councillor Simon Christopher says more could be done to promote the connections with Thomas Hardy, William Barnes, Sylvia Townsend Warner, John Fowles and others.

Many of the archives and artefacts of the literary group can be found in the Dorset County Museum and the Dorset History Centre – along with artworks by world-famous sculptor Elisabeth Frink.

Cllr Christopher told a meeting of the county’s joint archive that enthusiasts might be persuaded to travel to the county outside the main holiday season to view the material and take in the local sights which feature in many of the books.

He said the county also had connections to William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge who had met in the west of the county where Wordsworth lived for a short time near Pilsdon Pen.

“We just need to up our game,” he said.. ”Dorchester and other parts of the county could do with a lift. We need to capitalise more on our literary links.”

Cllr Christopher also called for what he described as the ‘drab’ welcome to Dorchester signs to be replaced, suggesting that the line “historic market town’ could be replaced with something more interesting.

County archives manager Sam Johnston told the meeting that a crowd-funding appeal to raise £60,000 to catalogue Thomas Hardy material held by the Dorset History Centre had not achieved its target and still had some way to go.

He said he realised that for many people giving to the appeal would be classed as non-essential spending at a time when budgets were tight, but the centre would persevere.

Without proper cataloguing material in the centre’s collection is more difficult to locate.

The meeting heard that among recent donations to the centre was archive material, including old photographs and films, from the now-defunct Bournemouth Transport company, known locally as the Yellow Buses.

Cllr Bev Dunlop congratulated the archive for taking the material saying that many people were very passionate about the company and its history.