The new Tamar Trails Centre in the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (TVAONB) was officially opened on Thursday, March 28 2013 and marked the final phase of a ten year long £7million partnership project.
The Centre houses a café with indoor and outdoor seating, an interpretation area with live webcams of the Tamar Valley’s wildlife, a meeting room and is the home of outdoor activities specialists Tree Surfers. It is also the main hub for exploring the 25km of trails for walkers, cyclists and horse riders that follow old mineral tramways and railways. These serviced the area that was once the epicenter of the global copper industry and is now part of Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.
The TVAONB delivered the project as part of its task of promoting the understanding, enjoyment and conservation of the landscape.
Its manager Corinna Woodall said: “The new centre will be a brilliant addition to the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – as a meeting place, as a place for learning and a place to explore the great outdoors.
“This is also a celebration and culmination of the Tamar Valley Mining Heritage Project, which has helped to conserve and consolidate many historic mine sites, enhanced key wildlife habitats and has created the opportunity for everyone to have access to these special places through the provision of the Tamar Trails network.”
Robert Plumb, Economic Development Officer for the Borough Council, said “We are proud of the achievement of delivering this challenging project which is the culmination of at least ten years work and would like to acknowledge the support of the key funding partners, which include the TVAONB, the Heritage Lottery Fund, which uses money raised by the National Lottery to give grants that open up the nation’s heritage for everyone to enjoy, Devon County Council and the Discover the Extraordinary Rural Development Programme for England.
“The project was born out of the legacy of the Mining Heritage and as a result of many people’s efforts we have now built a new legacy which is safer and more accessible and which is available to all. So, whether it’s walking, running, horse riding, family cycling, studying wildlife and the natural world, or the extreme sports of TreeSurfing and Downhill Biking. There’s now something for everyone to enjoy.”
The Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site also contributed substantially to the development of the trails and centre via ‘Discover the Extraordinary’, its current Rural Development Programme for England funded by European Union and DEFRA.
Julian German, chairman of the Cornish Mining WHS Partnership Board said: “In the height of the industrial boom, the Tamar area sported over 100 mines and the landscape was one of the most important copper and arsenic sources in the world.
“As a World Heritage Site, with areas in both Cornwall and West Devon, we have invested in this project as it allows the general public to access these historic and significant landscapes in fresh, exciting and interesting ways.”