The Tamar Valley
Because the Tamar Valley forms the boundary between Cornwall and Devon, it is often overlooked by those travelling to Cornwall for their holidays. For this reason it retains a quiet, peaceful and relaxing atmosphere in which to visit its many hidden attractions, and provides an excellent bed and breakfast base from which to explore the wider area.
Calstock Viaduct, River Tamar
Calstock Viaduct, River Tamar
It is the area that the BBC's Edwardian Farm series was filmed ( Morwelham Quay, the farm's location, is open to the public as a popular 'live museum' ).
The Tamar Valley was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1995, in order to protect its environmental, geological and wildlife importance and because of its cultural heritage. Its outstanding qualities are:
- a rare valley & water landscape
- a landscape of high visual quality
- a unique wildlife resource
- a remarkable heritage
- a landscape of artistic & public appeal
Mining HeritageThe area has a rich and varied history. It was mined extensively for a variety of materials, and during the 1800s was the most important copper mining area in Europe, most of the activity being centered around the Gunnislake area. In 2006 the Tamar Valley mining sites, together with nine other areas throughout Cornwall, were granted World Heritage status. Many of these important sites will be opened to the public with varying degrees of access over the coming years.
Market GardeningRail transport provided the catalyst for another short period of intense, very profitable activity from the mid 1860's to the late 1960's. The arrival of local branch lines to the area meant that fruit and flowers, which ripen very early in our mild climate and early spring, could be harvested and transported to Covent Garden market, London, within twenty four hours, weeks in advance of those from growers around the rest of the country. Enterprising growers could generate a significant income from just a few acres.
When the branch lines were closed this vital advantage was lost, and many growers were forced out of business, but several remain, and market gardening is still actively pursued; you will find several well-stocked stalls by the roadside throughout the narrow lanes.
Unique River LandscapeThe Rivers Tamar, Tavy and Lynher formed vital transportation links within the area and out to the rest of the country and beyond, and provide a wonderful, in places unique, habitat for much wildlife to flourish. Exploring the area by boat offers sights, sounds, and an atmosphere that can't be replicated by any other means of transport.
Artisitic ActivityFlourishing within the area are a wide range of artists and crafts people who draw inspiration from their surroundings and use materials found within them to create a variety of practical and decorative objects that are often to be found for sale in open workshops as well as galleries locally.
For information about places to visit and things to do within the Tamar Valley, click here, or visit the websites of the Tamar Valley AONB, who have a series of pages dedicated to suggested days out, or the Tamar Valley Tourism Association.