A call has been made to save part of Eston Hills "for the people" after 214 acres went up for sale.
The privately owned land, at a guide price of £425,000, is Lazenby Bank - the eastern part of the hills, formerly part of the Wilton Castle Estate and a Site of Nature Conservation Interest.
It was an ICI property from 1945 until its sale to private owners in the 1990s, it’s available as a whole, or in eight separate lots.
Property agents Geoge F White describe Lazenby Bank as having “a rich heritage, having previously been an area that was utilised for iron stone mining, with Lot 8, the Grade II-Listed Lovell Drift Fan House, a remnant of the Cleveland ironstone mines.
Further historical features are present throughout the property, most notably the remains of the Bronze Age burial mounds and Iron Age hill fort, together with the 19th century monument which are located at Eston Beacon, within Lot 1.
“Lazenby Bank includes mixed broadleaves and conifers of varying ages, part of which is classified as Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland.”
But a “Save The Eston Hills” Facebook page has already attracted more than 2,500 members, including film-maker Craig Hornby, whose acclaimed film A Century in Stone details the hills’ ironstone heritage, and group founder Rita Richardson.
A message on the page states: “This is an absolute jewel in Teesside’s crown and a fantastic opportunity to create a publicly owned heritage and nature park.
Only then can this much-loved natural and historic amenity be truly safeguarded and celebrated for generations to come.”
It says the group has written to Redcar and Cleveland Council leader Councillor George Dunning asking if the council has any interest in acquiring the site.
“Should that reply be negative or not happen soon, we will set ourselves up as a charity and begin a massive online fundraising drive to buy the site ourselves - for the people forever.”
Cllr Dunning said he hadn’t yet seen the letter, but had already discussed the issue with council deputy leader Sheelagh Clarke and chief executive Amanda Skelton.
He added: “The current Government’s drive is for councils to sell assets, not buy them, but we’ll look at all the options available to us, including things like match funding. There is clearly a lot of feeling about this issue.”
Article from the Gazette Live