AN historic visitor attraction has been taken over by a local conservation society.

Cumbria County Council confirmed that the area of land known as Nenthead Mines, near Alston, has been formally transferred to Nenthead Mines Conservation Society - a volunteer-led charity.

The formal handover took place in October and follows several years in which the society has acted as custodians and caretakers of the site on behalf of the council.

Now, the 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 visitors.

The Nenthead Mines area is a nationally significant industrial heritage site, with parts of the area classed as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and the majority of the land a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM), as per Historic England, providing protection against the land being redeveloped for other purposes.

Coun. Claire Driver, local member for Alston and East Fellside, said: "To formally transfer the site to them (the society) 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, added: "Our members have put a great deal of time and resources into managing the Mines. We are proud to be taking over the responsibility for caring for this fabulous, historic site."