Ten years on, the Tamar Valley trails are flourishing

Back in 2003 I started working with the Tamar Valley AONB, writing the business plan and funding applications for what would become the Tamar Valley Mining Heritage Project.

Tamar Valley Mining Heritage Project early logoIt was an audacious project, born of a dream to conserve the increasingly forgotten mining heritage of the Tamar Valley and give the public access to the adits, railways, calcifiers and beautiful landscape.

£6m investment in the Tamar Valley

The project finally started in 2007 with £6m from nine funders, seven delivery partners and agreements with multiple landowners. Along the way there were many challenges not least the withdrawal of financial support by a key partner, Devon County Council, straight after the 2009 elections which resulted in another partner, Morwellham and Tamar Valley Trust, being pushed into receivership. The loss of Morwellham Quay from the project was a bitter blow but the hard work and commitment of the AONB and other partners saw the project through and finally in 2013 we saw the official launch.

Tamar Trails are a success!

Now threee years later the project is bedded in.  The project legacy is managed by the Tamar Community Trust, a social enterprise specially setup for the purpose, while the visitor hub is run by Tamar Adventures, a local business that provides cycle hire, high ropes, canoe trips and a host of other activities.  Their video gives a great taste of what’s on offer.

And the project even extended to include a Mountain Bike Development Project and the stomach churning Gawton Gravity Hub (more successful business planning and funding applications).

Impact!

Sometimes in this line of work it’s hard to point to the difference you make.  The timescales are long, many people are involved, sometimes projects end up doing something different to the initial intent.  But with the Tamar Trails the results and the difference are there and plain to see. Take a trip there and enjoy the place!

Julian

Avoiding the Apple iCloud

A bit off-topic but a solution worth pointing out for Mac users who have upgraded to Mavericks OS10.9 and aren’t too happy with being forced to use iCloud (aka big computers in the USA) in order to sync calendars and contacts between devices.

In the old days it was possible to sync your calendar and contacts between your computer, iPhone, iPad etc via by simply plugging in and everything would be updated via cable and iTunes.  With the coming of Mavericks however this facility was removed.  While there’s some sense in this (Apple’s syncing system was bespoke whereas the new system  using CalDEV and CardDEV is industry standard) it does create a few issues around security of your data (not only is it held on computers in the USA where the NSA now snoops, but it’s also an exciting target for every hacker) and who has access to it.

But there’s a solution.  In a very useful blog Michael Gracie explains how to turn your Mac desktop or laptop into its own Cloud.  Having set it up (required a bit of fiddling and trial and error), whenever I’m within WiFi range my iPhone, iPad and laptop sync their calendar and contacts with my iMac.  So it’s just as good as iCloud, but I know exactly where the data is held!

Apples, IPSs and shares

An interesting day in London last week.  Firstly meeting Apple‘s education people to talk about support for visitor interpretation in the Tamar Valley (notable that they offer support rather than cash discounts!).  Lots of interesting ideas about how the new visitor centre could be tooled up and offer something quite ground breaking in the area.

Then to an interesting (and unexpected) discussion over lunch with, amongst others, Mark Campanale from the Social Stock Exchange and Tim Crabtree from Wessex Reinvestment Trust about the virtues of IPS and straight company setups for raising capital by share issues.  IPS rules have been adopted by many social enterprises as they are now relatively straight forward as a means of raising money from the community via share issues.  But the shares aren’t tradable (or ‘on-market’) so aren’t eligible for the Enterprise Investment Scheme or as a place for your pension.  The trouble with that is the perception of much higher cost and tougher regulation.  SSE are trying to promote the on-market approach as a way of tapping into all those pension pots (mine included!) that are otherwise invested in conventional big-businesses, and thereby bring huge investment in the social enterprise sector.  The discussion, which focused on getting investment into renewables, was enlightening!