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.
It 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).
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!