A £450,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund has secured the future of two of the country’s most significant historic copper mines in Coniston.

The 400-year-old Coniston Copper Mines and Penny Rigg Mill sites spread across 57 hectares in the south west of the Lake District National Park, below Coniston Old Man.

A two year, project beginning in June, will focus on conserving more than 150 items of repair, stabilisation and reconstruction across ten different structures at the two sites.

At its peak in the 19th century, Coppermines Valley employed around 600 people, employed in the extraction, preparation and transportation of copper ore. The underground mines in the valley date back to the 16th century.

There will be training and volunteering opportunities for people to get involved, including conservation and archaeological survey work. The information will then be shared for the benefit of local community and visitors, providing a new insight into the rich mining history of the south Lakes.

If anyone would like to get involved with surveying Penny Rigg Mill in the summer they should email archvol@lakedistrict.gov.uk or call 01539 724555.

The project is a partnership between Lake District National Park, land owners, Ruskin Museum, YHA Coniston, Grizedale Arts and Cumbria Amenity Trust Mining History Society.

Lake District Strategy and Partnership adviser, Eleanor Kingston, said: “This is fantastic news, not only to preserve the mining history, but also for the Coniston community. It’s a real opportunity for local people to get involved, connect with their heritage and contribute towards the future of this special site."

Sara Hilton, Head of HLF North West, said: “Copper mining is indelibly linked to the heritage and landscape of Coniston. Tens of thousands of people visit every year yet few will be aware of the role the area played in the industrialisation of Britain. It was clear to us therefore that investing National Lottery money could make a real difference in preserving what’s left and ensuring this important history is shared much more widely.”