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The Tamar Valley Mining Heritage Project aims to celebrate and tell the story of the Tamar Valley’s rich mining heritage through a new network of trails and paths. The Project has undertaken conservation work to a large area that contains mining remains and important wildlife habitats.
The new Tamar Trails take a journey along old transport systems such as canals, tramways and railways, and explore the mining history as well as our stunning natural landscapes.
It’s an area of steep wooded valleys, a slow flowing river and overgrown riverbanks. Everywhere, you can see evidence of deep, dark mines and hard-working communities, which would have driven an entire industry in the area.
The Tamar Valley Mining Heritage Project is located in the heart of the World Heritage Site within the Devon side of the AONB. This landscape has a distinctly industrial legacy from the C19th mining boom. It forms part of a series of sites within the Cornish and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.
It was copper mining that made the Tamar Valley internationally famous in the 19th and early 20th century. The whole of the Tamar Valley was transformed through mining and the work that followed, such as the construction of transport networks and quays. The mine chimneys now form part of the local scenery, as well as hidden quays, overgrown tracks, half-visible mine adits, and barren hillside spoil-tips all waiting to be discovered.
The Project is a partnership funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Objective 2, South West Regional Development Agency, Devon County Council, West Devon Borough Council, Devon Rural Renaissance, South West Water, Tavistock Woodlands Estate as well as the Tamar Valley AONB itself. Started in 2007, the project will finish in 2011, and is a £7 million investment which will help sustain this rural area.
25km of brand new trails have been created as part of the Tamar Valley Mining Heritage Project. As one of the landmark achievements of this ambitious project, the Trails have opened up parts of the Tamar Valley that were previously not accessible to the public. There are eight trails, each one built for cyclists, walkers, mountain bikes and horse-riders.
The trails start at Bedford Sawmills car park, located just off the A390 between Gunnislake and Tavistock. Parking fees apply, permits are available for car-users and horse-boxes, please see below for more information.
Devon Great Consols will be the most northerly point of the trails, which then travel south along the River Tamar through Bedford and Russell Mines, down to Morwellham Quay, linking to Newquay by a section of footpath. In Phase 2, work will start on improving access along the Tavistock Canal, linking it to a cycling/walking route along the old Tavistock to Bere Alston railway.
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