HUNDREDS of thousands of people from far and wide enjoyed stunning scenery, sunny weather and the thrilling spectacle of the Tour de France Grand Départ as it wound its way through the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Kathryn Beardmore, the park authority’s director of park services, said: “For many, it was their very first visit to the Yorkshire Dales, and most couldn’t believe how beautiful it is and said they would be back.

“Individuals, communities and organisations in the national park worked so hard to make the Tour de France cyclists and visitors welcome. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them and our partner organisations who put so much in to making sure the event went off so well.

“The weather was perfect and the atmosphere was even better, with many visitors watching the race on the TV screens set up in and around the national park including at our national park centre Grand Départ spectator hubs at Aysgarth Falls, Grassington and Hawes.

“I’d particularly like to thank all the people who came to watch the race for leaving the national park in such good condition. I drove up Buttertubs immediately after the race finished and it was wonderful to see so very little rubbish – which showed just how much they respect our special environment.

“The Grand Départ really has put this national park on the global map.”