A FORMER mine shop in the Allen Valleys is almost unrecognisable after a complete renovation.

The Grade-II-listed Barney Craig mine shop served as an essential facility for workers at the former Carrshield lead mine from the 1820s onwards.

It housed miners between shifts and was a base for blacksmiths and other workshops, including forges, but had fallen into a state of disrepair and was nearing collapse. But the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership stepped in with funding secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund, stabilising the building and carrying out numerous repairs and improvements.

The top floors have been made into a camping barn for use by walkers and cyclists, while a working group is to be established to decide what to do with the rest of the site.

The building is now owned by Allen Valleys Enterprises Ltd (AVEL), which is taking up the challenge of how to make the building work for and on behalf of the community.

The work was unveiled to the public on Saturday, December 8 with an open day at the site.

David Coverdale, the AONB’s project officer, said: “It’s great, we’re absolutely thrilled with it.

“The open day went well. We had about 15 local residents and they were really impressed with what we’ve done so far.

“We’ve handed it over to AVEL, and they’re looking at it and what can be done for the community.”