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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 September, 2004, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
New owner for historical landmark
Birdoswald dig
Several archaeological digs have taken place at Birdoswald
One of Cumbria's best-known historical landmarks is changing hands after a decision by council bosses.

The Birdoswald Roman Fort, near Brampton, is being transferred from Cumbria County Council to English Heritage.

The deal will see a nominal sum paid to the authority, which has managed the tourist attraction for 20 years.

The council says eight staff employed at the fort, which lies on Hadrian's Wall, will keep their jobs.

In 2002 Cumbria County Council considered offering the site to a university with an archaeology faculty, but none expressed an interest.

Henry Owen-John, English Heritage director for the North West, said: "Initially we would expect to run the site along the same lines as Cumbria County Council.

Imperial outpost

"In due course we will look at ways in which we can develop the site. We are especially keen to develop further a programme of education and outreach projects to increase understanding of this internationally important site to a wide range of visitors."

Rex Toft, leader of Cumbria County Council, said: "Cumbria County Council has had the care of Birdoswald Roman Fort for 20 years and has overseen its development into one of the most visited sites on Hadrian's Wall.

"However, the time has now come to hand it over to someone else to carry the work forward. English Heritage has the expertise and the infrastructure to look after Birdoswald and the fort will fit into its management of the other key sites along this World Heritage Site."

More than 220,000 people have visited Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site in 2004.

Birdoswald is widely considered as one of the most important archaeological sites on the wall.

Anger at council sell-off plan
19 Sep 02  |  England

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