A REGULAR visitor to Stainforth Force said she was dismayed after picnickers left several bags worth of litter strewn all over the beauty spot, including soiled nappies, broken bottles and used barbecue equipment.

Emma Lonsdale, from Settle, a former Olympic freestyle ski halfpipe specialist, runs regularly around that route on the outskirts of Stainforth which is a magnet for families and groups during summer.

She immediately went home and returned with bags and a litter picker to clear the rubbish away.

“I couldn’t leave it knowing there was wind and rain coming,” she said.

She posted on Facebook: “I know this is infuriating, but does anyone have any reasonable ideas how to stop it happening? The Ribble leads straight to the ocean. The foss (as it is called locally) is such a beautiful part of the Dales. How do we get people to share it responsibly?"

Emma contacted the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority who collected the bags.

Among the flotsam she said were two nappies, three odd socks, six barbecues, a few hundred cigarette butts, as well as cider cans, glass bottles (one broken), food containers, bread buns still in the wrapper, wet wipes, latex gloves, one pair of trainers, one pair of boxers, sweet wrappers and crisp packets. She said there was litter that had been thrown from parked cars, litter that had make it back to the car then thrown over the wall. “How do we stop it?” she said. “I’m thinking signs bringing awareness of the harm it causes to wildlife. Just saying taking it home doesn’t work.”

Some of the barbecues had been left on the ground, scorching the grass and leaving ugly brown marks by the beauty spot.

Emma posted her clearing up session on Facebook. The amount of waste collected in one day was received with horror.

One wrote: “It disgusts me and saddens me,” adding that they too had picked up quite a bit before the previous weekend.

Another said: “Well done, Em. Such a shame no one else thinks to clear up after themselves. If they can carry it out full, why can’t they take it home? Awful behaviour.”

Another poster answered: “It’s just so sad that with everything going on people can’t respect our earth. I used to love playing and swimming there.”

While another added: “I know, it’s dreadful. Can’t believe how much worse it’s become in our lifetime. The Dales is suffering. I am all for supporting tourism, but I can’t understand people’s ignorance. Perhaps more should be done to educate people about looking after the countryside.”

Chris Maudsley, owner of nearby Knight Stainforth Caravan Park, has been a regular litter gatherer at the site and thanked Emma for what she had done, calling her a star.

He has been vocal about the amount of litter left at the riverside spot.

In 2018 he posted a picture of piles of rubbish which the district council collected.

Mr Maudsley said at the time: “We have had trouble with littering for years.

"More than 30 years ago we had 45 gallon drums there for litter but people kept throwing them in the river so we took them away.

“It is a shame because it has always been a popular spot but mindless people are spoiling it.”