THE mayor of Richmond is appealing for help to clear litter from a beauty-spot overlooking the River Swale.

The Mayor, Councillor Stuart Parsons, promised he would dedicate his year in office to generating a sense of civic pride in the community.

Scouts and Guides have joined an army of volunteers in a series of clean-up operations, the latest on the slopes beneath the walls of Richmond Castle.

However, a litter pick at the beginning of the month proved how much rubbish has accumulated among the brambles and shrubs during recent months - and Councillor Parsons has appealed for reinforcements.

"We cleaned as much as we could without killing ourselves and even recovered one of the vandalised serpent benches and a computer from the undergrowth - but there is a lot more to do,'' he said.

"I have asked the Swaledale Outdoor Club for their assistance but we also need the help of English Heritage and the district council.

"On the walk towards the Cockpit Garden end of the castle, there is some damage caused to the path itself, which I assume is caused by the tree roots. I am concerned, if we are not careful, it could even undermine the walls of the castle.''

Richmondshire District Council environmental health officer Sean Little said the authority cleaned the walkways and emptied the litter dustbins along Castle Walk regularly, but could do little on the slopes beneath as it did not own the land.

However, a spokeswoman for castle owners, English Heritage, said the organisation has always been keen to involve itself in projects which help generate civic pride and would welcome an approach from Councillor Parsons and the town council.

"We would like very much to hear what they are saying,'' she said. "We could then decide if we are in a position to help."