PLANS for a heritage trail along the old railway line between Barnard Castle and West Auckland are being revived.

A previous attempt to launch a South West Durham Heritage Corridor based around the railway line stalled in 2008.

However, members of the Teesdale Action Partnership (TAP) board were told last week the project was being explored again by Durham County Council's rights of way team.

TAP co-ordinator Craig Morgan told the board the group was very keen to do the project.

He said the rights of way team was trying to gather some further information and an application for £5,000 to help with feasibility work was expected.

Mr Morgan said it was a speculate to accumulate situation.

TAP board member, Councillor Richard Bell, added: “I have been pushing for this. The first stage is for a survey of the line.

“We need to secure the assets, see where protected newts have set up camp and there are some issues around land ownership – there are various places where neighbouring landowners have fenced off land.”

Coun Bell said once the survey had been completed, the rights of way team would be in a better position to assess the project.

Fellow board member Jeanette Newman pointed out that a full feasibility document had been produced for the South West Durham Heritage Corridor in 2008.

Several members said they still had a copy of the document, which said the aim of the project was to create an area open to all to enjoy a walk, appreciate the wildlife and appreciate its history.

Coun Pauline Charlton said: “This has been going on for years – so let's get it started.”

Mr Morgan said it was the intention to contact as many people as possible involved in drawing up the previous plan and invite them to take part again.

Coun Bell is to report back to the next TAP board meeting.

Board members also agreed to spend £10,000 on repairs and enhancements to a railway path running from Lartington to Middleton-in-Teesdale.

The meeting was told the trail had been damaged during recent severe weather and the money would be spent carrying out work over and above routine maintenance done by Durham County Council.