ACTOR and adventurer Brian Blessed brought backing for a rural revival to the North York Moors yesterday.

Mr Blessed, the new Council for National Parks' president, was making his first official visit to a national park to listen to residents and see for himself the ravages of foot-and-mouth on the local economy.

He stressed the important role that national park authorities could play in rural revival.

North Yorks Moors national park authority chief executive Mr Andy Wilson said: "We are delighted Brian came here to highlight the need for revival of the local economy, which has suffered so much this year.

"National park authorities are ideal vehicles for government funding to revitalise rural areas and this visit was aimed at investigating how farmers, tourism businesses, local authorities and the whole community could work together for the future regeneration of the area."

Mr Blessed's visit focused on Ryedale folk museum and Hutton le Hole.

He had a private meeting with local farmers' and tourism representatives before taking part in visitor activities as part of a public event.

Mr Blessed said: "The rich landscape of areas like the North York moors must be underpinned by a vibrant tourism and farming trade."

As part of his visit, he used the Moorsbus network which, with a strict disinfectant regime in place, is helping to cut the number of car journeys in the national park and so minimise the spread of foot-and-mouth.

Mr Blessed also visited Cropton and Rosedale, meeting various business and tourism people along the way.

Dinosaur days hit the mark

WALKING with dinosaurs has made North Yorkshire's Jurassic coastline a huge success.

Much of the North Yorkshire coastline is a site of special scientific interest because of its geological importance.

Among its features are the hundreds of dinosaur footprints preserved in its rocks.

The Yorkshire dinosaur coast project set out to conserve this rich heritage by raising public awareness.

Since the start of the scheme, thousands of people have taken part in a programme of events such as dino days.

A new guide to the coastline's geology has also been launched. The book includes chapters on aspects of the dinosaur coast including the story of the Whitby jet and fossil clues to past environments.

A summer programme of events along the coast has also been unveiled.

The book, The Dinosaur Coast: Yorkshire Rocks, Reptiles and Landscapes, has been written by Roger Osborne and Alistair Bowden.

Special mission

A CAMPAIGN has been launched by North Yorkshire police to recruit more specials in the county.

Vice-chairman of the police authority, Graeme Robertson, said there was a need to boost the present strength of 182.