EVERY year, tens of thousands of pilgrims make the annual trek to see one of the wonders of the natural world.

The daffodils carpeting Farndale in the North York Moors have proved such a springtime hit that special buses have to be laid on to ease congestion.

But now an altogether less natural phenomenon is threatening to take root and overshadow the blooms, which attract about 40,000 admirers a year.

British Telecom is proposing to erect a 45ft high tower in the dale as part of a £2.5bn project to improve police radio communications throughout the country.

North Yorkshire Police is aiming to be the second force in the country to use the system, when it comes into operation next year but first a series of towers has to be erected, to ensure the entire county is covered.

But Ken Hutchinson, vice-chairman of the North Yorkshire Moors Association, said the site chosen by BT would blight the view of the daffodils from the west side of the dale and would be within yards of a popular circular walk.

He said: "The mast is going to be very prominent looking across the dale from the western side.

"It is not going to stick up above the skyline, but it is nevertheless going to be very conspicuous.

"It would also be cheek-by-jowl with the daffodil footpath, which is very popular in spring time with walkers."

He said the association was lodging an official objection to the site to the North York Moors National Park Authority, which will consider BT's proposal next month.

He said: "There is obviously a requirement to provide good radio coverage but we need to see if this mast can be in a better location, to minimise its impact on the landscape."

A BT spokesman said it had worked closely with planning officials in an attempt to come up with a suitable location for the tower.

He said: "It is an essential system for the police.

"For it to work, it needs to be somewhere reasonably prominent, but we do take environmental considerations very seriously."

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "This scheme is going to give us improved radio communication across the entire county, which is absolutely essential."