BioBlitz results


Showing off our finds at the BioBlitz!

On the 1st September we held our first BioBlitz of the Helping Hands for Heritage project at the Garden House near Buckland Monachorum.

Despite the rather mizzly weather 41 children accompanied by their parents came along and helped us to find 184 different species.

You can see a summary of the species we found HERE

The full report is available HERE 

We all had a great day, and we’d like to thank the Garden House for use of the venue; our former college Simon Bates for organising the day; and the 22 volunteers who helped it run smoothly. A selection of photos are available on the Helping Hands for Heritage Facebook page.

AONB HH4H Badge - vers 2 - finalHLF Logo Colour - Long Version

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Get Accreditation for your Dedication in the AONB

Match flower to leaves

Would you like to further your career, enhance your CV, or just learn something new?

Look no further, the Tamar Valley AONB is now a registered AQA* Unit Award Scheme Training Centre and will be accrediting the skills volunteers demonstrate through the Helping Hands for Heritage Project.

The Unit Award scheme is a nationally recognised accreditation and it is through this that we will be offering 25 modules across a variety of subjects, including wildlife survey skills, historical research, countryside management, tree identification, data analysis and much more – there really is something for everyone.

Anyone will be able to 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; “This is a fantastic initiative for the Tamar Valley AONB. We are all really excited to be able to work with individuals who want to get involved with our work in conserving and enhancing our landscape, whilst gaining accreditation at the same time.”

Becki continues, “In this current climate, that little bit extra on your CV goes a long way. This scheme is nationally recognised as a way of recording vocational achievement in all areas of work and activity”.

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 be helping us to deliver more.

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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Making a Difference in the Tamar Valley Community


As the evenings start to draw in, spare a thought for those around you who, at this time of year, see fewer people, have less social interaction, and are unable to get out as easily to enjoy regular exercise.

The Tamar Valley AONB team is seeking volunteers to lead walks and support walkers to help them stay motivated, in the Gunnislake area, that will make such a difference to many people’s every day lives as autumn and winter sets in.

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.

The Tamar Valley AONB team will be 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.

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”.

Becki continues; “All training is provided 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”.

If you need a little more convincing, here are just a few of the benefits that walking for 30 minutes a day, five times a week, can give you;

×        Reduces your chance of a heart attack or stroke by 30%

×        Reduces your chances of contracting certain cancers by 50%

×        Can help you to lose up to 1 stone in weight in just 2-3 months.

×        Can help reduce stress, depression and help you sleep better.

×        Can help reduce your chances of contracting diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.

×        Being active has been proven to fight illness and improve your life expectancy, as well as giving you a better quality of life.

If you feel you would like to help, or would like further information, please contact Becki at the Tamar Valley AONB team – 01822 835030,, or pop into the Tamar Valley Centre, Drakewalls, if you are passing by during the week.

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Remember, Remember… Get Volunteering this November!

Wacker Quay volunteers

A variety of volunteering opportunities are on offer throughout November for all to enjoy, as part of the Helping Hands for Heritage project.

Bonfire & Potatoes gets the month off to a cosy start on Wednesday 5th November. After clearing around the features of Drakewalls Mine, including the wheal pit and smithy, enjoy baked potatoes around the fire. The event, in conjunction with Cormac and Tavistock Task Force, runs from 10am – 4pm. Volunteers are welcome to come for all or part of the day.

Bring your memories and stories along to a one-day History Roadshow at Cotehele Quay, on Friday 7th November. Dig out your old photos, stories, films and anything else you think may contribute to the history of the Tamar Valley, between 11am and 4pm, to help Azook and build a picture of Valley life. Drop-in session, no need to book.

okeltormine1890Discover the Industrial Archaeology of the Tamar Valley on Saturday 8th November, with Cornwall Council’s Senior Archaeologist Colin Buck. A free day of indoor discussions and outdoor site visits, including a trip to Tavistock, lunch and refreshments. Throughout the day, you will find out more about the World Heritage Site and what life was really like 150 years ago in the Tamar Valley. The event will run from 9:45am – 5:15pm, meeting at the Tamar Valley Centre, Drakewalls.

East Kit Hill Mine is the venue for Wednesday 12th November’s volunteer day. Cut and clear brambles and gorse from this lesser-known mine site, ore processing area and hidden structure, and enjoy a fungus foray. The day begins at 10:30am and should finish by 4pm.

On Saturday 15th November, we head to the Lynher area of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to manage the vegetation and install a bench at Wacker Quay. Find out more about the sensitivities of managing archaeology and the significance of the heritage at this special site. Join us between 11am and 4pm. Please book direct with Dave Readman – 07792 483669,

Space Odyssey 3Don’t miss the FREE Stargazing events later in the month. Head to Buckland Abbey or Harrowbarrow Village Hall on 21st and 22nd November for a truly memorable experience, in conjunction with Space Odyssey.

Finally, we celebrate National Tree Week on Saturday 29th November, 11am – 4pm, with Winter Woodlands at Cleave – a magical site with historical significance. Join in with practical work in the morning, then learn how to stack and season logs, identify & record trees, and collect seeds to take home and grow your own. Please book direct with Dave Readman, 07792 483669,

Booking is essential for all events. Unless stated otherwise above, to secure your place, for further information on the events, or for more detail about the Helping Hands for Heritage Project, please contact Sam Barnes at the Tamar Valley AONB office, 01822 835030,


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Starry, Starry Night… in the Tamar Valley

Space Odyssey 3

If last week’s World Space Week has left you with stars in your eyes, the Tamar Valley AONB have planned two events next month that will take you to infinity… and beyond!

Join the team, together with Space Odyssey, for a unique mobile planetarium and outdoor stargazing experience, in one of two locations within the Tamar Valley. Discover more about the quality of our night sky, then take part in a star count near you.

Sam Barnes, Helping Hands for Heritage project officer, explains more about the sky at night; “The night skies are an important part of the character of the AONB, and contribute to its tranquility. Genuine starry skies are getting harder to find, and only 11% of England still has truly dark night skies as the threat of light pollution from our surrounding towns and cities is affecting that tranquility”.

Over the past years, the Campaign for Rural England (CPRE) has been monitoring and analysing the impact of street lighting, lighting from large supermarkets, and housing development. One of their surveys suggests that 83% of people have their home view of the night sky blighted by light pollution. It can also affect wildlife by interrupting migration and feeding patterns.

The CPRE have been running community star counts where volunteers count the number of stars that are visible to the naked eye within the Orion constellation. More than 30 stars mean a true dark sky – but only 4% of counts in 2014 revealed this; and 59% could see 10 or less stars – indicating severe light pollution.

The FREE stargazing events will take place on;

–                Friday 21st November, Buckland Abbey’s Great Barn

–                Saturday 22nd November, Harrowbarrow Village Hall

Choose from one of two sessions taking place each evening, at 4:45pm and 6:45pm, each lasting around 1¼ hours. Enjoy a spectacular 360-degree projected image show in the planetarium, followed by real life stargazing outside (weather permitting).

Places are strictly limited, so please book early to avoid disappointment – 01822 835030, (Tamar Valley AONB team). Suitable for all ages – please dress warmly. Refreshments will be available.

The events have been made possible by funding from an ‘Our Heritage’ grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and is part of the Tamar Valley AONB’s Helping Hands for Heritage project.



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Helping Hands for Heritage

This is a fantastic project to expand the potential of volunteering in the Tamar Valley, and to work towards helping to protect and care for its remarkable natural and cultural heritage.


Follow us to find out more …. 

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While we rectify the problems with our Online Events calendar, here are October’s events.

If you would like to know what’s happening beyond October, please contact Charlotte Dancer – 01822 835030,

until 12th October

It’s All About the River Film Festival

The festival features new commissions from local, national and international artists and filmmakers, alongside screenings of popular and cult classics in impressive settings along the banks of the Tamar.

Information:, River Tamar Project & Plymouth University


Friday 3rd, 7:30pm

Friends of Tamar Valley Talk – Rachel Hunt

Life in the Past Lane: The People of Cotehele. Talk by Collections Manager at Cotehele. All welcome, small charge for non-members.

Venue: Tamar Valley Centre, Drakewalls

Information: 01822 834964,


Saturday 4th, 9:00am – 12:00noon

Stoke Climsland Village Market

Local produce and a BIG breakfast

Venue: Old School, Stoke Climsland, PL17 8NY

Information: 01579 370493 (Old School)


Saturday 4th, 10am

Revealing your Fieldwalking Finds

Washing & identifying the finds from last weekend’s fieldwalking event on the Pentillie estate.

Venue: Tamar Valley Centre, Drakewalls


Saturday 4th, 1:00pm – 5:00pm

Bere Apple Fest

Activities include apple pressing, advice on grafting and pruning, display of rural crafts, music and competitions, including Apple Pie Baking and Longest Apple Peel!

Venue: Church Hall, Bere Ferrers

Information: 01822 841309 or, (Brian Lamb or Bev Slaughter).


Saturday 4th

Tamar Valley Produce Market

Venue: Calstock Village Hall

Information: 01579 208412, Tamar Grow Local


Saturday 4th

Tamar Valley Produce Market & Apple Pressing

Bring along your own apples for pressing and bottle to take your juice home. By donation.

Venue: Carpenters Arms, Metherell

Information: 01579 208412, Tamar Grow Local


Sunday 5th, 11am – 4pm

Conservation Task Day

Come and find out about the history of this fascinating military site, and then take part in vegetation management and bench installation.

Meet: Wacker Quay car park, near Antony

Booking:, 07792 483669 (Dave Readman)



Sunday 5th

The Delicious Drakes Trail

Starting at Buckland Abbey, runners will follow their taste buds to Tavistock then to Moorland Garden Hotel. Along the way they will be treated to a mouth-watering variety of locally produced food and drink tasters and 15 miles of beautiful off-road trail. Shorter 10-mile option also available. Fundraising for CHICKS.

Also, Food Festival, Moorland Garden Hotel, 12noon – 5pm

Sign up: essential –


Saturday 11th, 10:30am – 4:00pm

Archaeology Volunteer Day

Join us in helping to clear the long barrow on the south side of Kit Hill.

Information: 01822 835030,, Cormac and Helping Hands for Heritage (Tamar Valley AONB)


Sunday 12th

Tamar Valley Produce Market

Venue: Mount Edgcumbe

Information: 01579 208412, Tamar Grow Local


Saturday 18th, 9:00am – 3:00pm

Crocadon’s Producer Fair


Saturday 18th, 9:30am – 12:30pm

Stoke Climsland Crafts and Gifts Fair


23rd – 26th

Calstock Jazz & Blues Festival



Saturday 25th, 10:30am

Fungi Walk with Jacky Peace

A walk around the reserve identifying fungi and other plants.

Cost: free for members, £2 for non-members.

Notes: bring camera, binoculars, wear suitable clothing & footwear.

Sorry no dogs.

Meet: The Cecil Arms pub by St. Stephens Church (PL12 4AR)

Information: 01752 843852, Mary Langworth, Friends of Churchtown Farm Community Nature Reserve


25th – 27th

Tavistock Heritage Festival


25th – 2nd November, 11:00am – 4:30pm

Hallowe’en half-term fun at Cotehele

Steel yourself for freak week in the house, mill and Edgcumbe, with children’s half-term activities on the quay, 27 – 31 Oct, 11am-3pm, fright night in the house on 31 Oct, 6-9pm and more. Check website for details.

Cost: various – see the website

Venue: Cotehele National Trust, St Dominick

Information: or 01579 351346


26th – 31st

Halloween Week at Morwellham

A scary mine train ride, spooky activities and a Witches’ Coven throughout the week to get everyone quaking in their boots!

Venue: Morwellham Quay, nr Tavistock

Information: 01822 832766


26th – 31st

Tamar Trails’ Half-term Activities

Includes Family Fun Day, Adventure Days, Lantern making, guided walk & more.

Information & booking:, 01822 833409


Tuesday 28th, 7:30pm – 9:30pm

Shipwrecks and History in Plymouth Sound

A talk by Peter Holt

Cost: Non-members £1

Venue: Old School, Stoke Climsland, PL17 8NY

Information: 01579 370319 (Deri Parsons), Stoke Climsland Local History Group


Wednesday 29th, 11:00am – 4:00pm

All Ways Apples Festival

The 5th annual festival with activities including apple pressing, workshops, cookery demonstrations, creative activities and healthy food initiatives.

Venue: Devonport Guildhall

Information: 07531 506481, (Tess Wilmot)


Friday 31st

The Big Draw & Family Arts Festival

Venue: Mount Edgcumbe, Cremyll, Torpoint



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Revealing your Fieldwalking Finds…

2014-09-27 10.28.40

Following last weekend’s Fieldwalking event, that took place on the Pentillie Estate, at Tinnel Farm near Cargreen, join the AONB team this Saturday to discover & clean what was found.

Around forty participants stepped back in time to discover how people used to live, by joining the hunt for archaeological evidence. Among the findings were flint flakes, a one-legged lead toy soldier in a Napoleonic hat, a horseshoe and a rubbing stone (disguised as a potato)!

This event is just one of many organised by Helping Hands for Heritage, to give volunteers in the Tamar Valley area new skills, and opportunities to meet new people.

Please meet at the Tamar Valley Centre, Drakewalls, at 10:00am to help clean, and learn more about, the finds. Call 01822 835030 for further details.

If you’re free on Sunday, why not pop along to the Moorland Garden Hotel’s Food Festival, near Yelverton. To coincide with the Delicious Drake’s Trail, the Festival is open from 12:00noon – 5:00pm and is a great chance to sample local food & drink.  The AONB team will be having a stand there, so do come and say hello.

If you prefer something more hands-on on Sunday, come along to Wacker Quay in the south of the AONB, for a day of managing vegetation and bench installation. A great chance to find out more about the history of this fascinating military site. 11:00am – 4:00pm, please book by calling Dave Readman – 07792 483669.

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Local projects made possible through Sustainable Development Fund

Strawberry HillThis year’s Sustainable Development Fund, accessed through the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty team, is giving a much-needed boost to thirteen projects in the area.

The Fund was created for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty to encourage individuals, community groups and businesses to work together to develop practical and sustainable solutions to the management of their activities. The Tamar Valley AONB awarded £5,000 to the successful projects this summer, following a panel meeting.

Twenty-three projects applied for funding from the Tamar Valley AONB – successful applicants demonstrated sustainable development, involved and supported local communities and helped to deliver the AONB Management Plan. Projects that were innovative and provided benefits to people and wildlife in the Valley were encouraged.

The range of projects supported includes a study into the impact of river recreation, by Tamar Estuaries Consultative Forum, footpath extension in Sheviock parish, nature watching at Gulworthy School, community bread making in Buckland Monachorum and help with the Calstock to Cotehele ferry service – these projects (the part that the AONB has specifically funded) should all be completed by the end of December.

For a full list of successful projects, please visit

The Tamar Valley AONB hope to offer the Sustainable Development Fund again next year. Keep a close eye on our website, Facebook and local press for more details. In the meantime, if your projects need funds now (£100 – £1000), check your eligibility with your local Community Chest Fund (Cornwall projects) – full details on our website, as above.


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