Picnickers and illegal campers are blighting a local beauty spot by leaving piles of rubbish behind.

In the latest incident, the Yorkshire Dales National Park rangers picked up several bagfuls of litter – including beer bottles, cans, cardboard boxes and used barbecue tins – from Stainforth Foss over one weekend.

Signs of fires were evident and a fire had been set on a limestone rock at the side of the River Ribble.

The land is owned by the Maudsley family, who run Knight Stainforth camping site. They say the area around the waterfall is being spoilt by people who have no respect for the location.

They are investigating the chance of imposing an alcohol ban at the site after one member of the family was abused by a group of young men from Dewsbury who set up camp, began drinking and refused to leave.

Paul Maudsley said there was a chance of the area becoming “open access”, which meant that although the family retained the land, the public would have a right to picnic there (at the moment they are supposed to keep to the footpath).

And by making it officially open to the public, he believed the police could act and there was a possibility of an alcohol ban. At present any action would have to be through the civil courts which took too long, he said.

He added: “The state of the place over that weekend was horrendous – there was rubbish everywhere. My brother Chris tried to get the lads to move but they refused and were abusive. They stayed there until about 4am on Sunday.

“People have picnicked there for years and we’re happy if people treat the place with respect – local people do – but it is getting worse.”

Alan Hulme, head of ranger services at the national park, said: “The national park will continue to assist Mr Maudsley with clean-up operations at Stainforth Foss.

“We’re aware of the difficult problems he faces in relation to litter, parking and general behaviour whenever the weather is hot at what is one of the most attractive areas in Ribblesdale.

“The solutions, however, will not be easy, but the authority is willing to work with and support all partners to seek to address the issues.”