ASIAN families are to be taken on a day trip into one of England's most scenic landscapes to see what sort of welcome they get.

The initiative is part of a three-year research project to discover why so few people from ethnic minorities venture into national parks, using the North York Moors as an example.

Members of Teesside's Asian community will be taken to the moors, with researchers recording their experiences to see if they face any problems.

The £30,000 study will also involve interviews with people from ethnic minorities and surveys, and is part of a strategy to encourage more black and Asian visitors to the parks.

Durham University academic Professor Ash Amin, who will supervise the research, said: "We will take a sample of people into the countryside and observe their experiences and look at the reactions of people within the countryside.

"We will look at whether the prejudices and fears disappear, or if they are confirmed, to find out what the real experience is of ethnic minorities."

Research will also be carried out in the Peak District, in Derbyshire, to see how ethnic minority use of the two national parks compares.

Researcher Kye Askins has been appointed to work full-time on the project, funded by the North York Moors National Park Authority and the Economic and Social Research Council.

The study will also look at differences in usage of the park by different social groups among the white population