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Dales Hearts add joy and surprise to the beautiful countryside

Thousands of brightly coloured hearts are popping up all over the Dales as part of a new project to inspire visitors to slow down and enjoy the beautiful villages and countryside.

Dales Hearts hanging

Flashes of colour can be now spotted hanging from trees, nestling on railings and strung from buildings.

The hearts have been knitted by volunteers from across Craven and neighbouring areas - many of them by Tourist Information volunteers in Settle.

Yvonne Fortune, Tourist Information Manager in Settle for Craven District Council, said: "The idea is that as people start spotting them they'll start looking out for more of them around the Dales.

"We hope people will take selfies next to them and tweet about them to spread the word. They should start appearing all over the place now - so look out for them!"

The hearts are being strung up across the district, in Skipton, Gargrave, Hellifield and Malham as well as Settle and wider afield across the Dales.

Susan Briggs, of the Dales Tourism Network, is the brains behind the idea, which follows on from the Lost Sheep in Yellow Jerseys which appeared throughout th Dales two years ago.

She said: "The Lost Sheep were really popular and last year there was lots of bunting in the Dales for the Tour de France. People were saying 'what shall we do this year?' So I had the idea of getting people to make something. We hit on hearts because they're welcoming and happy.

Dales Heart strings

"Several thousand hearts have been knitted, crocheted and felted and are hanging up around the Dales. They are popping up all over the place - sometimes they disappear because people take them home with them. People are still adding to them now. We've had a lot of support from locals, particularly Yvonne at the Settle Tourist Information Office and Sue Amphlett from Cottontail Crafts in Settle.

"Lots of people are saying they notice one and then they will notice another and another. We didn't want to put millions of them in one place - it's a bit more subtle.

"It encourages people to look around a bit more; we're getting people to slow down, wander around and look at things in more detail so they can really appreciate the Dales."

Jeanne Carr, one of the Tourist Information volunteers from Settle, said: "I made about 100 of them - they're quicker to do than you'd think. I think they look very good around the town."

At the end of April the Dales Tourism Network is also launching 'Happy Dales' to encourage new visitors and stressed city dwellers to break free from the daily grind and discover new places, with a number of treasure hunts and activities.

For more information about Settle Tourist Information, go to www.settle.org.uk/settle-tourist-information-centre/ and for more information about the Dales Tourism Network, go to www.dalestourism.com