AS thousands of visitors flock to the panoramic beauty spot of Farndale to see its swathes of the famous wild daffodils which adorn its valleys and riversides, a new survey is being made into similar beds at historic Rosedale and the nearby hamlet of Hartoft.

Both at Farndale and Rosedale it is thought that the daffodils - protected from being picked - were probably planted by monks from Rievaulx and Rosedale Abbeys.

Explained expert, Alexandra Cripps,conservation graduate trainee at the North York Moors National Park Authority, "By monitoring the daffodils we will be able to compare their distribution and flowering conditions. Rosedale residents have been very helpful, allowing surveys on their land along with helping to discover new patches of wild daffodils." The work will form part of the Park's Exploited Land Landscape Partnership, she added.

"It is part of the park's biodiversity scheme," said Alexandra. She and local residents in Rosedale and Hartoft are looking at how the daffodils survive in fields used by livestock. Key places surveyed so far include the banksides at Northdale Beck, Hartoft Beck and the River Seven, and at the picturesque parish churchyard.

"We are keen to establish just how big the Rosedale daffodil population is," said Alexandra, adding that the blooms, known as narcissus pseudonarcissus is "extremely important" as it is the only wild daffodil species in Britain.

"Wild daffodils have two methods of regeneration - by the production of seed and through the development of bulblets around the parent bulb. Having two methods of regeneration is important as it gives the daffodils more chance of increasing their numbers.

"There are some great displays in fields with stock but it is essential to get the grazing pressure right. No over-winter grazing with stock being introduced into the meadows in late spring seems to benefit the daffodils."

The daffodil season at Farndale and Rosedale starts later than those in domestic gardens, and is a big boon to the small businesses in the two scattered communities, enabling villagers to raise extra cash for their village halls and ancient churches by serving teas and selling cakes.