Bedale’s location and catalogue of attractions mean it could probably survive without a Tourist Information office.

But when a decision to close it was taken in the early years of this century, surviving without the office was an option residents were not prepared to take.

Those who had been involved in running the office were approached by the management team at Bedale Hall with an offer of support to re-establish Tourist Information as a focal point for visitors – and they were only too pleased to accept the offer.

Edna Wright has been involved since that point and remains a central figure, quietly raising funds by sourcing, cleaning and reselling second-hand and historic books and maps of the area through the office, an activity which has so far contributed more than £28,000 towards the running costs.

She is among 34 volunteers who keep the office open for six days a week from March to November, and said: “We never have trouble finding volunteers who want to help, we all like talking to people.”

They have plenty to talk about, too, from Bedale’s independent shops and the town’s history, to surrounding visitor attractions like the ever-popular Thorp Perrow Arboretum, National Trust properties and two National Parks, which are on the doorstep.

Service personnel and visitors to Catterick and RAF Leeming are also regular visitors and, Ms Wright said, one frequently asked question is not about tourist hotspots, but rather what Bedale is like as a place to live.

“Bedale is bigger than a village, but not too big, most people could get around Bedale walking, it is very friendly,” she said.

One regular set of visitors is an architect’s group from the south, who make repeated trips to see the Georgian splendour of Bedale Hall, one of the town’s many historic buildings.