A SEASONAL bus which takes passengers on a scenic route through the Dales is starting earlier this year.

The Northern Dalesman service will start running on Easter Sunday which this year falls on April 20.

It departs from Morecambe Bus Station at 8.50am and picks up at Lancaster Bus Station at 9.15am.

It then goes on to Caton, Hornby, Wray, Wennington, Low and High Bentham to Ingleton, Ribblehead, Hawes, Buttertubs Pass, Swaledale, Muker, Reeth and Richmond.

Passengers intending to stay on to the final stop of Richmond in either April or May are advised to check for alterations as the main road between Reeth and Richmond is being closed for essential maintenance work.

The bus goes through historic towns and DalesBus users can get discount entry at Richmond Castle.

It also passes through picturesque villages like Muker, Gunnerside and Reeth, with attractive walks along the banks of the River Swale.

The wild and spectacular Buttertubs Pass is traversed between Wensleydale and Swaledale and the bus passes close to the Red Squirrel Trail at Snaizeholme.

Organisers for those wishing to visit Ingleton with its famous waterfalls walk an earlier return bus to Lancaster has been introduced at 5.05pm and there are connections during the day between Ingleton, Settle and Malham.

The operators sugges that 'energetic' passengers could climb to the summit of Ingleborough or Whernside, or others should savour lunch or afternoon tea in a range of cafes and pubs along the way.

The Northern Dalesman service is operated by the Dales and Bowland Community Interest Company - a subsidiary of the the Yorkshire Dales Society.

Whilst some funding has been provided by the Yorkshire Dales National Park sustainable development fund, it has been generously match-funded by the Yorkshire Dales Society, Friends of Settle-Carlisle Line and Friends of DalesBus.

Its continuation in future years depends upon the number of passengers carried; most return journeys will be no more than £10 and two children can travel free with an adult farepayer.

Bus pass holders travel free. Organisers say no booking is required – just turn up and go!

For full details pick up a free Northern Dalesman leaflet or Metro Summer DalesBus timetable from your local bus or railway office, library or tourist information centre or go to www.dalesbus.org