THE Prince of Wales has set the record straight on whether he gets his hands dirty during a visit to North Yorkshire.

Prince Charles was being shown around a gardening tool workshop in Spaunton, near Hutton-le-Hole, when he showed interest in a new-style garden fork.

He told staff at Hill Top Farm: "I'm going to have to buy one of these."

After it was suggested he probably did not do a lot of gardening himself, Charles replied: "You'd be surprised."

The garden fork, made by Lazy Dog Tools on the farm premises, was later presented to the prince by farm owner Philip Trevelyan.

The heir to the throne was visiting North Yorkshire with farmers and business leaders as part of his Business In The Community programme.

Swaledale sheep looked on as the prince was shown around the fields of the farm, with views to the surrounding moors.

He also visited the farm's organic flour mill, which provides ingredients to North Yorkshire's Bettys tea shops.

Master baker Robin Osburn presented the prince with a cob loaf at the mill.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Osburn said: "He has come to improve links between local farms like this one and heads of businesses like Bettys.

"It's really good that you can make a loaf of bread that is grown locally from a local farm. We have developed this loaf especially from flour made here and it is a real honour to present it to the prince."

The royal visitor then moved on to Grange Farm in Levisham, north of Pickering, which produces mutton.

The meat is an issue close to the prince's heart - he founded the Mutton Renaissance Campaign in 2004 to support sheep farmers who were struggling to sell their older animals, and to get mutton back on the nation's plates. Renaissance mutton is the meat from a traceable farm assured sheep that is at least two years of age, finished on a forage-based diet and matured for at least two weeks post-slaughter.

After meeting farmers, the prince tucked into mutton stew for lunch.

He then swapped his wellies for shiny brown shoes as he greeted the crowds outside the newly-refurbished Royal Hall in Harrogate.

The Grade II listed building recently underwent a £10.7 million restoration. He is patron of the Royal Hall Restoration Trust, which was set up to raise funds for the work.