Yorkshire Dales say visitors need basic messages

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Yorkshire Dales National ParkImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The Yorkshire Dales national park has seen a wave of visitors since lockdown restrictions were eased

A national park inundated with crowds of first-time visitors says messages from the 1960s could educate people on how to behave in the countryside.

Parts of the Yorkshire Dales have faced issues with litter and overcrowding since lockdown restrictions were eased.

Neil Heseltine, deputy chair of the park authority, said "inexperienced visitors" must be taught the basics.

Public information films in the 1960s and 1970s showed people how to enjoy rural areas considerately and safely.

The films were shown on television and in cinemas and included one featuring the cartoon characters Joe and Petunia.

In the 1971 film the couple take a country walk leaving a trail of destruction behind them by leaving litter and straying into private land as they ignore all the rules.

Mr Heseltine told a meeting of the park's local access forum they estimated about 70% of visitors over the past three months had never been before.

"We are getting a lot of really inexperienced visitors and their use of the national park is very different to what we have been used to."

Image source, Steve Dawson
Image caption,
Visitors have left piles of litter which is largely being cleared by local volunteers

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Mr Heseltine said they needed to "go back to very basic messaging, almost going back to the messages of the 1960s when people first started coming to the national park in numbers".

"We almost have to reinvigorate the Countryside Code and make people very much aware about all the basic things about how to behave and act while visiting."

The Countryside Code has existed in various forms since the 1930s - the latest version has been updated by Natural England to add social-distancing reminders.

Alan Hulme, head of park management, said information about behaviour had been replaced by social distancing information in many places, but plans to launch an education campaign were in place.

The county has seen numerous breaches of lockdown restrictions with North Yorkshire Police issuing the most fines for breaches in England, with 1,082 fixed penalty notices handed out since lockdown began.

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