Cumbria County Council has confirmed that the area of land known as Nenthead Mines, near Alston, has been transferred to a local conservation society.
The Nenthead Mines Conservation Society is a volunteer-led charity and has made a successful application to the county council for a Community Asset Transfer (CAT).
A CAT means that a building or land is transferred from public ownership to a community, voluntary or social enterprise group.
The council has worked closely with the society to help develop a business case and terms for the transfer with the formal handover taking place during October.
The transfer follows several years in which the society acted as custodians and caretakers of the site on behalf of the council and the community group is best placed to drive forward the conservation, management and future of the site.
Nenthead Mines Conservation Society is working alongside partners including the Environment Agency and the Coal Authority, along with local groups to effectively manage and maintain the site for the benefit of the local community and for visitors.
The Nenthead Mines area is a nationally significant industrial heritage site and parts of the area are classed as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the majority of the land is classed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) by Historic England, which provides protection against the land being redeveloped for other purposes.
Cllr Claire Driver, local member for Alston and East Fellside, said: “This is fantastic news for the society, who have been such passionate and enthusiastic caretakers of this site for a long time.
“To formally transfer the site to them is a milestone for the local community and the site is now in the hands of those who know best how to manage and maintain this nationally significant landscape.
“I am very pleased to know that the future of this important community asset is now assured, and I’d like to thank everyone involved behind the scenes to make this happen.”
Peter Jackson, Chair of Nenthead Mines Conservation Society Trustees, said: “Our members have put a great deal of time and resources into managing the Mines over the last few years.
“We are proud to be taking over the responsibility for caring for this fabulous historic site.”