A SITE of wildlife and archaeological interest in Ingleton - currently owned by Craven District Council -is to be handed over to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

Once the land at Mealbank Quarry is made safe, it will be open to the public, making it a valuable resource for both residents and visitors, heard the council’s policy committee.

Access to the land, which also includes an historic Hoffmann Kiln and stretches to 25 acres, is currently not allowed by the general public. It is accessed off Oddies Lane and is classed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSI).

The majority of the site is currently used by a farmer who leases it under a full agricultural tenancy, which is to be transferred from the council to the trust.

Graham Standring, living landscapes officer, for the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, told the meeting that he was keen to get on site as soon as possible. He added that once sections around the quarry are made safe, it would be opened up to the public.

Mr Standring said he lived in Ingleton and was very much aware of how important the site was for residents, and as a potential tourist attraction. It also has archaeological interest due to the Hoffmann Kiln.

The trust intends to create a wildlife area for plants, birds and insects.

“We will have to carry out safety work, we will need to sort the fence out near to the quarry edge, but as a resident of Ingleton, I know it will be a very well used resource,” he said.

Cllr Carl Lis pointed out it was not currently a public open space, even though it had been described as being used by dog walkers and for camping in the committee report.

He said use of the land had been ‘rumbling on’ for some time, and he welcomed the transferral to the trust now that agreement had been reached with the agricultural tenancy.

In a report to committee, Ian Halton, the council’s assets and commercial services manager, said the land would be transferred to the trust under a 50 year lease, for the sum of £1 per year.

He said the quarry is a former carboniferous limestone quarry that has been unused for a number of years.

“Much of the land is uneven with areas of quarry soil and and cliff face, but there are some areas of level ground,” says the report. "It has in part a footpath on its western boundary, and on the southern boundary by the River Doe.

"The site also includes an early Hoffman Kiln, and the privately owned Meal Bank Quarry, there is also a cinder covered access track, which may at one time have been a railway track."

Transferring the site to the trust will mean the council saving around £130 in annual inspection costs, in addition to any other unexpected maintenance and repair costs.