Become a Walk Leader in the Tamar Valley

The Tamar Valley AONB team is seeking volunteers to lead walks and support walkers to help them stay motivated, in the Gunnislake area.


Free training will be provided next month, and all walks will be risk assessed and mapped ready for the leaders. You won’t be alone, as there will be 2 walk leaders per session.


Anyone can join the group and we will be encouraging people to just come along. It will be a chance to make new friends and explore your local area, with no specialist equipment required.


Becki Lumbis, Education & Community Resource Officer from the Tamar Valley AONB, says; “We’re aiming to run weekly walks of varying lengths, from just 10 minutes to around 1 ½ hours. If you can spare any time at all to lead a walk, we would love to hear from you”.


The Tamar Valley AONB team is working in partnership with Walking for Health and the Living Well programme, to promote the benefits of walking. The aim of the scheme is to reduce the risk of individuals going into hospital, helping them to become more active and socially mobile in order to regain their strength and fitness.


Training will take place on Thursday 26th February, 10:00am – 4:00pm, at the Tamar Valley Centre, Drakewalls, near Gunnislake.


To book your place, or for further information, please contact Becki at the Tamar Valley AONB team – 01822 835030,


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Get Accreditation for your Dedication in the AONB

Last October, the Tamar Valley AONB announced that it had become a registered AQA* Unit Award Scheme Training Centre and would be accrediting the skills volunteers demonstrate through the Helping Hands for Heritage Project.


A variety of new opportunities have now been added, to further your career, enhance your CV, or to provide you with new skills this year.


The Unit Award scheme is a nationally recognised accreditation. Choose from five modules, covering a variety of subjects, as shown below. Anyone can enrol on the scheme, it’s free, and the AONB team will work with you to gain your accreditation, offering support and development as necessary.


Becki Lumbis, Education & Community Resource Officer for the Tamar Valley AONB, says; “Workshops will involve both practical tasks and theory, mainly through discussion, and all of which will be supporting the work of the Tamar Valley AONB. The skills learned and tasks achieved through the training will also help us to deliver more. We look forward to meeting you at one of our events very soon.”


Ideally, we would like you to attend all of the events within a particular module, as listed below, but if you can’t make one of the dates, please get in touch and we can discuss other options.


New for 2015

  • Condition Monitoring– become experienced in reading maps, identifying features in the landscape, methodologies for assessing condition, data collation. Training dates to attend:

o   24th January – survey techniques to monitor the condition of scheduled monuments, Minions area

o   27th January – landscape monitoring, Drakewalls, nr Gunnislake

o   or 3rd February – landscape monitoring, Bere Peninsula

o   or 24th February – landscape monitoring, Lynher area

o   7th February – conservation & condition monitoring, Callington area


  • Practical Countryside Management and Health & Safety; Assess Risk – learn the practical and theoretical aspects of accessing and managing the countryside. Find out more about health & safety, risk assessments and managing common hazards. Training dates to attend:

o   23rd January – Tamar Trails maintenance, practical tasks

o   6th February – woodfuel, location tbc

o   20th February – Tamar Trails maintenance, practical tasks


  • Reading Historical Maps – learn how toidentify multiple locations on relevant maps (modern and historic) and be able to identify and understand landscape features as represented on a map. Training dates to attend:

o   27th January – landscape monitoring, Drakewalls, nr Gunnislake

o   or 3rd February – landscape monitoring, Bere Peninsula

o   or 24th February – landscape monitoring, Lynher area

o   28th January – training workshop to use resources to research location of historic weirs, Drakewalls, nr Gunnislake

o   March 2015 – date and location tbc, use resources to research location of historic ponds.


  • British Tree ID– find out how to identify native British species of trees by their leaf, bark, fruit and seeds. Training dates to attend:

o   6th February – management for woodfuel, location tbc

o   4th March – woodland identification day, Cotehele

o   March 2015 – date tbc, woodland lichens identification day


  • Survey Skills– learn how to use field guides and follow methodologies to complete a survey, report findings accurately, work safely in an outdoor environment. Choose any one training date to attend (although you are welcome to attend more if you wish):

o   Ponds – training: mid February (date tbc), survey: throughout March

o   Woodland & Churchyard Lichens – training: end March (date tbc), survey: throughout April & June

o   Heritage Watch – training: 24th January, includes practical surveys on-site

o   Butterfly Surveys – training: 25th April and 5th May, surveys: June/July/August


If you would like further information, or would like to sign up for the training, please contact Becki Lumbis, 01822 835030,


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Landscape Monitoring Volunteer Workshop

Would you like to help keep an eye on the condition of the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’s cherished landscape?


Helping Hands for Heritage is offering a FREE informal training workshop next week, to find out more about the Tamar Valley landscape and how monitoring it informs its conservation & enhancement.


Indoor group activities will be followed by a nearby site visit, providing participants with all the skills needed to carry out monitoring activities over a wider area and across more themes. There will also be the opportunity to use a new smartphone app ‘Rate My View’ to record your personal responses to landscape.


The workshop will take place on Tuesday 27th January, 10:00am – 4:30pm, at the Tamar Valley Centre, near Drakewalls.


Booking is essential for this event, as places are limited. Lunch and all refreshments will be provided. For further information, or to book your FREE place, please contact the Tamar Valley AONB team – t: 01822 835030 e:


For the very latest on Helping Hands for Heritage, and ways to get involved, please visit or like us on Facebook /helpinghandsfor heritage.

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Local people invited to contribute to study on reducing visual impact of existing power lines in the Tamar Valley AONB

  • Opportunity for local people to help inform initial research to reduce the visual impact of electricity lines in the Tamar Valley AONB
  • Public events set to be held in Saltash and Bere Ferrers
  • National Grid and Tamar Valley AONB collaborating as part of the Visual Impact Provision project


Residents of the Tamar Valley are being invited to help with a study into reducing the visual impact of pylons in the AONB.

Back in November 2014, National Grid identified a section of overhead power line which crosses the River Tamar near Weir Quay as having a significant visual impact on the landscape. So, this month the company is holding two public events where local people can share their knowledge of the area and help to influence the initial research.

National Grid is now working in partnership with the Tamar Valley AONB to prepare a feasibility study to investigate the engineering options which could be used to reduce the visual impact of the electricity transmission line.

To help inform this initial research, two public events are planned for Thursday 22nd January in Saltash and Bere Ferrers providing an opportunity for local people to share their views and local knowledge. Members of the project team will be on hand to answer questions and provide additional information about the project.

The events are taking place simultaneously from 2pm until 8pm at the following locations:

  • The Who’d Have Thought It Inn, St Dominick, Saltash Cornwall PL12 6TG
  • Bere Ferrers Church Hall, Station Road, Bere Ferrers PL20 7JS


Corinna Woodall, Tamar Valley AONB Manager said: “We are encouraging local people to come along to these events and share their knowledge they have about our precious landscape. Whether it’s providing information about wildlife, archaeology or heritage, local people are well placed to share information which will be considered by the project team.”

Hector Pearson, National Grid VIP Project Manager said: “National Grid’s electricity network is vital to our way of life, but this project provides a real opportunity to help reduce its impact on treasured landscapes like the Tamar Valley. These events are the first step in gathering essential information to help us to consider how we could reduce the visual impact of the transmission line near Weir Quay.”

The feasibility study forms part of the Visual Impact Provision* project, a major initiative to reduce the visual impact of existing transmission lines in protected areas across Great Britain. The project will make use of a £500 million allowance made available by Ofgem until 2021.

A report outlining the options to mitigate the section of line in the Tamar Valley AONB will be available in Spring 2015.

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Want to run your Own Café? Café Concession Opportunity


Offers are invited for the concession to operate the Beech Café at Tree Surfers/ The Tamar Trails Centre for up to 3 years.

We are seeking to appoint a passionate and committed caterer who will fully realise the enormous opportunity of this café at this site. We would like to see it developed into a destination café offering high quality locally sourced food that appeals to Tree Surfers guests, walkers, local residents and passing tourists. This concession will start in March 2015.

The Tamar Trails Centre was completely refurbished in March 2013 creating the Beech Café in the heart of the new visitor information centre for the Tamar Trails and reception for Tree Surfers outdoor activities and bike hire. The café has indoor seating for 25 plus an area of 100m2 for outside seating. The kitchen is fully equipped for light hot lunches, homemade cakes, teas and coffee.

The Tamar Trails Centre, at Gulworthy between Tavistock and Gunnislake, is the hub for walkers, cyclists and thrill seekers using the Tamar Trails. There are 25kms of woodland trails which start from this site and form part of the Cornish and West Devon World Heritage Site and Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Tree Surfers has been operating outdoor activities for families, schools and corporate groups at the site for 6 years.

If you wish to visit the site and cafe it will be open by arrangement on Saturday 17th January, please contact Tamar Adventures to make an appointment.

To register your interest in the concession please email your proposal, outlining your vision for the café and your relevant experience by Friday 23rd January.    tel:01822 833409



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Fieldwalking finds in Tamar Valley ready for inspection!

Forty eager volunteers in the Tamar Valley have walked the fields, unearthed interesting finds and carefully cleaned them up over the past months. The finds are now ready to be on show for all to see early next year at the Tamar Valley Centre.

The community fieldwalking event was held at Tinnel Farm on the Pentillie Estate in September, as part of the Helping Hands for Heritage project. Come and talk to some of the volunteers involved, and discover what was found and what it can tell us about the history of the Tamar Valley.

There will also be the chance to find out more about volunteering in the Tamar Valley AONB, including upcoming opportunities until Easter 2015.

The fieldwalking finds can be seen at the Tamar Valley Centre, Drakewalls, on Saturday 17th January, from 10am – 1pm. No need to book, just drop in at a time to suit you. Tea & coffee will be available. For further information, please contact Sam Barnes on 01822 835030, or email


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News for ‘The Valley’

The Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty team is seeking news items from throughout the Tamar Valley area to include within their next newsletter – The Valley.

The Valley is one of the main ways in which the AONB team spreads news and information about their work to conserve and enhance the landscape, and features relevant articles from the local community and organisations, to highlight the many aspects of life in the Valley and to widen its appeal. This issue is especially important as it is 20 years this August since the Tamar Valley was designated as an AONB.

An Events Programme is also included within the newsletter, as well as an opportunity to advertise relevant local businesses.

The next issue of the newsletter should be distributed in time for Easter. If you have any good news stories, items of interest, updates from your area, news in brief, etc. for the period April until end September 2015, please email them, along with images, to, or send to Charlotte Dancer, Tamar Valley AONB, Tamar Valley Centre, Drakewalls, Gunnislake, Cornwall PL18 9FE, to arrive no later than Monday 2nd February. If you know of any events that are taking place in your area, please send them through, too.

The Tamar Valley covers the areas of land surrounding the rivers Tamar, Tavy and Lynher, and extends from Bickleigh in the south to Greystone Bridge, near Launceston, in the north.

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Orchard Restoration Pruning at Beals Mill and Pentillie



Helping Hands for Heritage is getting 2015 off to a great start by offering two dates this month to learn skills in Orchard Restoration Pruning. Find out about safe work techniques and hand tool use, a background to the orchard sites, different varieties of apple trees and their uses, and methods of care and pruning suitable for each tree.


Saturday 17th January provides free training at Beals Mill. Learn the skills of careful restoration pruning of old Cornish apple varieties in beautiful surroundings on the River Inny near Stoke Climsland.


Saturday 31st January offers free training at Pentillie Castle, in their historic walled garden, again pruning old Cornish apple varieties.


On both days, participants will work with feet firmly on the ground pruning out dead, diseased and crowded branches on old, spreading apple trees to let more light and air into the framework of each tree.  This will encourage greater health and longer life for the trees. Intact old branches, that provide good habitat for the orchard’s valuable wildlife, will be left.


The training events run from 10.30am – 4.00pm. Hot drinks and lunch will be provided.  Please dress warmly for the weather on the day with sturdy footwear.  All tools provided but if you have favourite secateurs, pruning saws, loppers or gloves, please bring them.


Booking is essential for these events, as places are limited. Please book your FREE place by contacting Sam Barnes, Tamar Valley AONB – t: 01822 835032 e:


For the very latest on Helping Hands for Heritage, and ways to get involved, please visit or like us on Facebook /helpinghandsfor heritage.

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Historic Weirs of the Tamar Valley

Gunnislake Weir

Can you spare some time to help find out more about the historic weirs along the rivers Tamar, Tavy & Lynher?

Would you like to gain accreditation to enhance your CV, while carrying out the research?

There is currently no comprehensive record of the river management systems that were historically in place along the three main rivers in the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but the AONB team would like to change that!

With your help, the team would like to make a start by finding out where weirs and other structures are, and used to be, located.

Sam Barnes, Helping Hands for Heritage project officer, explains, “The river heritage is of great importance to our AONB landscape, but there is so much that we just don’t know. We’d like to use the information we discover to raise awareness of our river heritage, and potentially work towards its protection and interpretation, as part of the river experience”.

Join the AONB team on Wednesday 28th January, 6pm-8pm at the Tamar Valley Centre for FREE training, to enable you to:

  • Access, read and draw information from historic maps to identify weirs and river structures;
  • Discover other sources of research to add to the map findings;
  • Provide your results to us as a simple written report;
  • Work with us to develop a plan for Spring 2015 to prioritise sites for further research and survey.

Food & drink will be provided.

The AONB team would like potential volunteers to have an interest in the heritage of the Tamar Valley, and some experience of archival and other research (including where to find sources and archives) would be desirable, but not essential. Full training and support will be given.

The research phase of this work will take place between February and April 2015. If volunteers can spare some time within these dates to help gather information, the plan should be in place by the end of May 2015.

Becki Lumbis, Education & Community Resource Officer for the Tamar Valley AONB, says, “By coming along to the training day and joining in with the subsequent research, you will receive AQA accreditation that can really make a difference to your CV and career path. More opportunities to earn accreditation in other topic areas will be coming up in the New Year – please do get in touch in the meantime to find out more and to register your interest.”

Volunteers will be able to choose an area(s) of the rivers to research; we would like to be able to have full coverage of the extent of the rivers within the AONB, so the more volunteers the better! Travel expenses can be reimbursed if desired.

Please sign up now to pledge your support. Contact the Tamar Valley AONB team – 01822 835030,

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