EFFORTS by the Yorkshire Dales National Park to persuade more city folk to visit the countryside have received an official pat on the back from a Government minister.
At the beginning of National Parks Week, which runs until Thursday, the park authority has been congratulated for a campaign called "I'm a city dweller - get me out of here' which has so far persuaded 400 fledgling walkers from various urban groups to visit the Dales and sample the hiking experience.
Many of those came from ethnic minority groups or the disabled who, until now, have not been regular visitors to the countryside. Cash for the campaign was funded by Defra's Sustainable Development Fund.
At the opening of National Parks Week, Jim Knight, the newly appointed Minister for Rural Affairs, commented:" Through such initiatives, we can ensure that our parks work well for people who help us to protect the heritage and secure the future."