NEARLY a thousand fleeces from local sheep are decorating the side of a hill in the Yorkshire Dales.

Laid out in the shape of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority's distinctive 'Ram's Head' branding, they have gone on the side of Elbolton Hill near Grassington, around 10 miles from Skipton.

It is to welcome this weekend's Tour de France Grand Départ.

On Thursday - two days before the world’s top cyclists start their journey through the National Park – the display, which was designed by Julian McCready from Linton, near Wetherby, will be lit up.

Karen Griffiths, for the YDNPA, explained: “We wanted to do something on a grand scale to celebrate the staging of a significant part of the Grand Départ in this beautiful landscape.

“The Swaledale ram’s head is well known nationally as the identifying mark for the National Park and we have a fantastic chance to show it off to a worldwide audience of billions as the race passes Grassington with the TV helicopters following it.

"We hope when they see the logo anywhere in future they will make the link with this wonderful scenery.

“The logo is 50 metres (164ft) wide and is visible from the Grassington National Park Centre car park, which is an official Tour de France Grand Départ spectator hub – but we wanted to make sure it was big enough for the TV cameras to pick up as they passed overhead.

“We are very grateful to Julian and the Dales bolunteers for their hard work and to Lancashire-based architectural lighting specialists acdc LED Ltd, who are lending us free of charge 750 coloured LED cubes so we can light up the logo every night from Thursday.

“We are also hoping to ‘animate’ the face as the peloton goes by in the valley below on Saturday.”

Gareth Frankland, Chief Executive Officer from acdc LED Ltd, said: “We are always looking to support local projects, and as a number of us are keen cyclists, this was a fantastic opportunity. We can’t wait to see the finished result."