English summary

The Local Action Group Asón-Agüera-Trasmiera is an association of 17 rural municipalities and over 40 civil society organisations. It is located in eastern Cantabria (northern Spain), in an area of around 34,000 inhabitants and an average population density of around 40 inhab/km2. It is one of the five Local Action Groups operating in Cantabria.

The LAG Asón-Agüera-Trasmiera is in charge of the management of the LEADER funds in the 17 associated municipalities. It also offers a Tourist Information service that receives over 28,000 visitors/queries per year (2019 data) and a European InfoPoint that promotes UE-related activities and supports local initiatives with a European scope.

The Local Action Group Asón-Agüera-Trasmiera, back in 2008, commissioned an inventory of the industrial archaeology linked to the Asón river basin, which included many water mills, but also bridges and footbridges, lavoirs and other washing places, river port infrastructure, water-powered forges, factories, mining sites, railway stations, watering places, aqueducts, tide mills, etc. Ten years later, in 2018, the “forgotten heritage of the Asón river” was the main focus of a small but ambitious project, funded by the Department of Land Planning of the Regional Government of Cantabria, whose main target were the inhabitants of our villages. Many of the above-mentioned elements were located on a map available online, but the most exciting activities where those that involved the direct participation of different kinds of stakeholders. Children spent a day learning to observe their local heritage and to capture it in drawings, supported by two art and education experts: a book and several exhibitions were produced. Amateur and professional photographers took splendid pictures, among which three were chosen as the best in an ad hoc photo contest. Local inhabitants went for walks along the river at several locations and, although they were guided by local natural and cultural heritage experts, many of them took a leading role in explaining facts and telling stories. This was the case of, among others, old workers of an abandoned factory. Finally, perhaps one of the most touching actions of the project was the participation of several key stakeholders in a series of interviews. Many of them were elderly people who shared their most cherished memories regarding their lives and work by the river, and fragments of many of these interviews can also be seen on this project website.