Five year programme of improvements has been completed by Highways England

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The company, which runs the country’s motorways and major A roads has signed off a five-year programme of biodiversity, landscaping and heritage works a few weeks ago by finishing work in a lay-by along the westbound A66 right on the ancient border between Cumbria and Durham.

In a real hands-across-the-Pennines moment, the work has transformed the rather non-descript resting area near Stainmore into a visitor stop-off in its own right, complete with renovated historic marker stone and four new display boards chronicling both the human and natural history of the area.

New information board chronicling the history of the border area has transformed this layby along the A66 near Stainmore

Highways England project manager Dion Auriac said:

"Our motorways and major A roads are the arteries of the economy – keeping businesses, commuters, tourists and goods and services on the move. However, we’re determined to minimise the impact of our roads on the environment and enhance their surroundings where possible.

"At Stainmore we’ve improved the experience for drivers taking a quick break and better acknowledged the significance of this gateway location - and it’s just one of dozens of improvements we have or will be delivering across Cumbria and North Lancashire in a 10-year period."

Work to improve cultural heritage along the A66 including enhancing the environment around local landmarks like the 17th century octagonal sandstone Countess Pillar near Penrith and the iron age Castle How Hillfort on the western shore of Bassenthwaite – as well as replacing a missing 19th century milestone near Whinfell Park and restoring a second historic – and heritage listed - milestone near Crackenthorpe Hall.

A missing 19th century milestone near Whinfell Park has been replaced with a faithful replica where it stood in the verge along the eastbound A66 east of Penrith

Landscaping to help enhance Cumbria’s tourism ‘offer’ including the work at Stainmore layby and another A66 layby at Troutbeck west of the M6 at the gateway to the Lake District National Park and world heritage site. Views from the layby open towards the Lakeland high fells and a general layby enhancement and biodiversity improvement project has included cleaning and tidying up the layby and verge, wildflower seeding and planting of heather and bilberry as well as planting birch, holly, hazel and elm trees.

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Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Little Ireland: Five year programme of improvements has been completed by Highways England
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