Plans have been put forward for a major repair project at one of North Yorkshire's most important heritage sites.

A £100,000 scheme has been earmarked for the Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal estate, near Ripon, which many regard as the jewel in the crown of the National Trust.

It is proposed that the project work will concentrate on the popular 18th Century water garden on the Studley Royal estate, which features a series of landscaped cascades and waterfalls.

According to the trust, urgent repairs need to be made to the feature known as the Drum Waterfall, which is leaking, as well as the upper canal walls.

The protective waterbed "skirts" where the water cascades into the canal, also need to be repaired.

The estate, which was taken over by the National Trust in 1983, is one of the county's most popular tourist attractions. Every year it attracts thousands of visitors, either to the grounds and abbey or to attend open air concerts and other events.

Its international importance has also been recognised by the United Nations, which has designated it as a World Heritage Site.

Half the project's cost will be funded by landfill tax, but the remainder will have to be raised by the estate itself.

Head gardener Michael Ridsdale said: "This will be the first time repairs have been done to the waterfalls since the 18th Century.

"As we don't have all the money, the work will have to be done in phases. It's a never-ending job."

The estate was once owned by the Viner family, who sold it in 1966. It came under the management of the West Riding before being taken over by North Yorkshire County Council in 1974.

Mr Ridsdale said: "When we took it over we had to raise £4m. We raised £1.2m ourselves. What we need is someone to leave us a legacy which could go towards an endowment. Unfortunately that simply doesn't happen very often these days."