One of the district’s most famous former mills could be transformed into a £1 million outdoor pursuits centre.

The ambitious project, for the old Ponden Mill site near Stanbury, would also create up to 20 jobs.

The three-storey centre would accommodate between 64 and 70 people, mainly in dormitories, and there would be a cafe on the ground floor open to the public.

Camping provision is also planned.

Some activities for visiting schools and similar groups would be provided on-site, and other pursuits will take place at neighbouring locations.

“It’s a lovely spot and is a perfect place for an outdoor centre – on the Pennine Way and close to a reservoir for water activities,” said Richard Trainer, who bought the Grade II-listed building more than a year ago.

“We have lived in the area for a long time and known and liked the mill.

“Within weeks of it closing, it had been stripped by thieves and was allowed to decay.

“We’ve spent a year repairing damage so we can stabilise the building, but our aim is to fully restore it and create a useful asset for the community.

“There has already been some extremely positive feedback, and quite a few groups have expressed interest in using the facilities when they are up and running.”

Mr Trainer, 51, who lives at Oxenhope, is a computer programmer, but shares an interest in archaeology with his wife, Barbara.

“We want to preserve as much as we can of the existing building,” he said.

“The only bit we plan to demolish is a lean-to. Despite the disrepair it had fallen into, the building isn’t actually that bad, and in some ways is well preserved.”

A planning application has been submitted to Bradford Council, and if permission is given, it is hoped to have some facilities – notably the camping and cafe – operational by this summer to take advantage of visiting tourists descending on the district to watch the Tour de France Grand Depart.

The overall scheme would take about 18 months to complete.

As part of the plans, two families would live on-site.

Built as a cotton mill at the time of the Industrial Revolution, Ponden Mill eventually changed over to worsted, and was run by R Sunderland and Son (Spinners) Ltd from 1898 until 1973, when it was sold at auction for £10,500.

It opened as a retail outlet, specialising in household textiles, such as bedding and towels, in the mid-70s.

The mill store closed in late 2008.