The trophy, from the South West Tourism Excellence Awards was presented to all 20 protected landscapes in the South West, of which the Tamar Valley AONB is one, in recognition of why visitors choose the region as a destination, and the contribution this makes to the economy.
Chris Parsons and Stephi Juckes from Coast Communications, St Mellion, presented the trophy, sponsored by South West Tourism Alliance, in front of an audience of 60 delegates. Chair of the Tamar Valley AONB Partnership, Cllr Neil Burden, said; “We are delighted to receive this award, but it’s not just for us. This recognises the huge amount of work and effort put in by TAVATA, Drawn to the Valley, Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership, Tamar Community Trust, Tamar TLC and many others who help to keep our Valley the special place it is, so that visitors want to keep coming back”.
The theme of this year’s Annual Forum was Managing Environmental Change in Uncertain Times.
Key-note speaker, Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones (founder of The Black Farmer brand), addressed the delegates with an entertaining talk about ‘Making the most of seeing things differently’ which is often a catalyst for change. Wilfred’s messages of ‘Dream big early’ and ‘With absolute focus and absolute passion you can achieve all you want’ resonated with the audience, and inspired the AONB team.
Cllr Neil Burden and Cllr Sue James, Portfolio Holder for Environment & Public Protection, Cornwall Council, set the scene for the Forum, while Corinna Woodall, AONB Manager, presented highlights of the team’s work in 2017 and looked ahead to the current year.
Rob Price from the Environment Agency talked around the subject of water quality, and the challenges our rivers and communities face, at a regional and local level. The very real threat of ash-dieback in the Tamar Valley was then covered by Dr Rob Wolton, who gave an insightful account of the disease, and what we can start to do to prepare for, and adapt to, the loss of ash trees in our landscape.
Dr Wolton said; “We need to inform, inspire and empower local communities now to prepare them, to capture cultural significance, and to plan ahead to retain landscape quality”.
Anna David from Devon’s Greater Horseshoe Bat Project looked at farming and the future, while National Trust’s Assistant Director of Operations, Toby Fox, continued with a thought provoking talk around the challenges the Trust face with achieving their core purpose of ‘Forever, For Everyone’, and how they are working with local communities, partners and tenants when they make their decisions.
Following their recent visit to Sweden, to look at best practice examples in outdoor learning, Melissa Pinfield from Harrowbarrow School and Donna Kilpin from Lewannick School, inspired the room with how they are taking their children back outdoors to reconnect with their environment. In Sweden, official learning doesn’t start until children are aged seven – they are allowed to be children, to play, to take risks.
If you would like to be kept up-to-date with what’s happening in and around the Tamar Valley, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Charlotte Dancer on 01822 835030.