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Local School Children Celebrate the Conservation of Coniston Copper Mines

Local school children recently celebrated the completion of work to conserve and present the remains of Coniston Copper Mines. In two years, with a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £455,000, ten major structures at the site have been conserved.

The remains are now presented with information panels including an interactive hub and an installation that invites people to recreate the sounds of this former hive of industrial activity.

The project created opportunities for volunteers and schools to become involved including Coniston CE Primary School which has been using the site for some of its curriculum work.

Person walking on a track with hills in the background and a house in the distance
View towards the mine site from the track from Coniston village

The remains of the Coniston copper mines cover a large area (in excess of 50 hectares) in a valley above the village of Coniston in the Lake District.

Copper has had many uses since prehistoric times, for tools and weapons, as protective sheathing for wooden ships, and more recently in electrical items such as wire and batteries.

Mining has been carried out at Coniston for more than 400 years (Queen Elizabeth I brought over miners from Germany to extract copper from the site). The mines were at peak production in the second half of the 19th century, and were only finally abandoned in the 1950s.

The remains, which are now scheduled as an ancient monument, had been deteriorating for years in the harsh Lakeland climate. Their plight was highlighted when Historic England added the site to the Heritage at Risk Register.

Stone with the words
The new stone at the entrance to the site

Starting in 2016 the Coniston Coppermines Project has been a collaboration between the Lake District National Park Authority, the landowners (Rydal Estates and Coppermines Cottages), Grizedale Arts, YHA Coniston, the Ruskin Museum, and the Cumbria Amenity Trust Mining History Society. The project aim was to consolidate, conserve and present the mining remains, and to give opportunities to local volunteers and schools to become involved.

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