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Restored Cockermouth site gets an extra boost

Works to transform one of Cockermouth’s most important viewpoints has completed its first phase, and now the Riversmeet Community Cooperative has received funding to further improve the area.

The land where the Rivers Cocker and Derwent meet, beneath Cockermouth Castle, has been restored, thanks to the installation of new benches, a wheelchair accessible path, repaired boundary walls and over 2000 daffodils planted. The works were carried out as a partnership initiative between Lovell, Allerdale Borough Council, Cockermouth Town Council, Jennings Brewery and Cockermouth Civic Trust.

Riversmeet has now received £34,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the next phase of the project. ‘The Viewpoint’ will see artwork installed in the area and will include local people in shaping the site and how they wish to use it.

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project provides an opportunity to mark the significance of the area to the town following the 2015 floods, by engaging with the community to explore the river’s heritage, ecology and culture in creative and fun ways, through a range of temporary events and permanent interpretation on the site.

The site has historic importance to the establishment of the town and provides many heritage layers to explore including the site of a foundry, windmill, tannery pits as well as the brewery.

Councillor Alan Smith, Leader of Allerdale Borough Council and a member of Cockermouth Town Council, said: “I think this is one of the most important sites in town – it is the ‘mouth of the Cocker’ from where the town takes its name. The area was in need of improvement, particularly following the floods, so I am delighted that it has been restored and can be enjoyed by the local community.”

Cathy Newbery, Riversmeet Project Manager, said: “We are thrilled to have received support thanks to National Lottery players. We are confident the project will support local people and actively engage them with the heritage, ecology and culture of the Rivers and celebrate their pride of the town.”

The rivers that come together here have flooded through the centuries and this has physically affected the town, the shape of the river and the people (five of the 15 lakes in the Lake District flow into the Derwent and Cocker). The group will work over the next 12 months with local arts and heritage groups to carry out archival research, consultation, reminiscence activities and workshops, create intergenerational resources, a mobile museum, a new performance and river lantern procession to create a narrative for permanent interpretation on the site.