Staff at a national park visitor centre are remembering 50 years of helping people to discover the Yorkshire Dales - including a visit by a Hollywood superstar.

In 1973, disused railway buildings near the famous Aysgarth Falls became North Riding County Council’s first national park information centre.

Today the site is still a magnet for visitors, with two information advisors and meet and greet volunteers on hand seven days a week during the summer, seeing an average of about 600 people a day.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Aysgarth Falls in full flood

To mark the anniversary, a display of photographs, memories and diary entries has been put together. A diary entry for September 10, 1984, for instance, reads: “Lady who got stuck in a stile in Wensleydale called in to thank us for the prompt action taken.”

Nigel Metcalfe, an area ranger based at Aysgarth Falls National Park Visitor Centre, has remembered 1990, when scenes for Kevin Costner’s ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’, including Little John’s stick fight, were filmed at the falls.

Read more: National parks warn Sunak Government plans will deeply damage his constituency

He said: “One day Hollywood legend Morgan Freeman – who was playing Azeem – came into the centre and asked to use the telephone. The member of staff on duty didn’t recognise him and, as was the policy at the time, politely asked him to use the public phone in the village.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman

“Once the film was shown in cinemas children could be seen fighting on the rocks with wooden sticks during the summer months. I’d pick up many sticks from the car park at the end of the day, dropped by weary young fighters.”

Read more: Family sells North Yorkshire filling station after 55 years

Aysgarth Falls National Park Visitor Centre grew out of the work of the second person to be employed by North Riding County Council as a "National Park Warden", Norman Crossley. Bombarded with questions from visitors, he devised walks and wrote out the routes, setting up a card table in the car park at Aysgarth Falls and handing them out.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Information adviser Alan Greenfield with visitors Joe and Sharon Hall, from Birmingham, enjoying

Present-day information advisor Alan Greenfield said: “It all started with Norman by his table in a car park giving out routes – and after that the centre was born.

"The role of the information advisor has changed as technology and communications have changed, yet we still have an important role to play to help visitors enjoy and understand the beautiful Yorkshire Dales National Park.

“We don’t speak to everyone who comes through the door, but I might speak to around a hundred people a day. We had a lady last week who had never been here before; she came in the site for four days on the trot because she absolutely loved it.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Aysgarth Falls Visitor Centre as it looked in the 1970s

"People appreciate having someone to talk to, to get the information they need, such as walking routes that keep them safely away from the road.”

Derek Twine, of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, added: “Gathering materials for this 50th anniversary display at Aysgarth Falls has been an emotional and enthralling trip back in time for staff. It’s reminded us of how it all started, with a National Park warden equipped only with a Landrover and some home made leaflets.”

Following the opening of Aysgarth Falls National Park Visitor Centre in 1973, a purpose-built centre opened in Malham in the spring of 1975. Two further visitor centres opened in Hawes and Grassington.