AS the warm dry spell continues, the risk of fire on already tinder dry grass and moorland in parts of the Dales will reach ‘high’ this weekend, according to the Met Office.

It is, therefore, more important than ever to respect the land and not to use barbecues in the countryside, says the Yorkshire Dales National Park, which has since the relaxing of coronavirus restrictions has seen large numbers of people visiting areas including Malham and Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

There has also been large numbers heading for Bolton Abbey after the estate reopened yesterday.

Visitors must pre-book via the Bolton Abbey Estate website and are being reminded to observe social distancing, and not to park on the surrounding roads. Those without a ticket have been warned they will be turned away.

But, yesterday's good weather saw visitors flocking to the area and parking on narrow roads, prompting an angry reaction by residents on social media.

David Butterworth, Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said: “With the national park proving a popular place for people to get some exercise and fresh air, it’s important to leave the barbecues at home. Wildfires put unnecessary strain on emergency services as they work to combat the covid-19 coronavirus.

“Nobody should be lighting fires or barbecues in the countryside and everyone should be taking their litter home to reduce the instances of fire”.

The national park authority will be updating the status of its car parks online throughout the weekend. Anyone planning to drive to the are should check the car park status webpage before and during their journey

Experience of recent weekends indicates that car parks in Malham and Horton-in-Ribblesdale - fill up early and quickly.

The park authority says in addition to regularly checking the status of car parks, that people should consider using car parks and walks in other parts of the national park.