The Tamar Valley

The Tamar Valley

Dowr Tamar

Marks almost the entire eastern border of Cornwall

Web: www.tamarvalley.org.uk
Web: www.tamarvalleytourism.co.uk

The Tamar Valley is an area rich in beauty and history, possessing some of the finest scenery. The Estuary is an important haven for wildlife. The valley of the River Tamar, and its tributaries, the Tavy and Lynher, is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It's great walking and cycling country, and visitors can explore the area by train on the scenic Tamar Valley Railway Line which goes as far as Gunnislake and even has a Rail Ale Trail, by boat on the Tamar Passenger Ferry or pleasure cruises. The area is full of interesting villages and bustling country towns: the valley is marked by four ancient towns: Launceston in the North - with its Norman castle; Tavistock to the East - gateway to Dartmoor with daily pannier market for food and crafts; Callington in the West - with its unusual mural trail, Kit Hill with amazing views and walks, and Saltash - best known for Brunel's Royal Albert Bridge, now partnered by the impressive road bridge. Nearby is the amazing Cornish Maize Maze. Then Torpoint facing across to Plymouth with its vehicle chain ferry and nearby Antony House. There are many other fine houses to visit, including medieval Cotehele House with its quay, and Mount Edgcumbe House on the Rame peninsula. Then there is Pentillie House further up the river. Calstock with its massive viaduct and many riverside pubs is a popular place to visit. Many of the villages also have their own guides and walking trails.

The distinctiveness of the Valley has been shaped by both time and people. Mining thrived here from medieval times, exploiting silver and tin reserves - but it was copper in the 1800's which made the greatest impact. In today's tranquillity, it is hard to imagine that at the height of the mining boom there were over 100 mines along the river. Atmospheric chimneys and ruins throughout the valley serve as a reminder of this industrial past. Morwellham on the Devon side grew as an inland port to serve the mines, and today has been brought back to life as a living history museum, offering you a taste of Victorian life.

The river has been the official border between the counties of Devon and Cornwall since Saxon times starting up near Bude in the north of the county and passing through Tamar Lake. It was a vital trade link for the mining industry, and for the farming industry. Produce from the fertile valley slopes was transported to Plymouth and beyond, and returning barges brought lime and dock dung back to the many quays dotted along its length, for use on the farms.

You will also find many attractions and activities such as the Tamar Valley Donkey Park near Gunnislake; railway history in the Tamar Belle Heritage Centre at Bere Alston, and Launceston Steam Railway along with horse riding and cycling in many places.

River Tamar       Launceston       Callington       Gunnislake       Calstock       Saltash       Torpoint