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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Tamar Valley Community Star Count

The Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) team would like your help later this month, to observe and record the number of stars that you can see from your own garden, to help measure light pollution in the Tamar Valley AONB.

Space Odyssey 1Following on from the hugely successful Stargazing events at Buckland Abbey and Harrowbarrow last month, that introduced the idea of light pollution and showed participants what to look for when observing the sky at night, we are now looking for as many people as possible to take part in our Community Star Count. Our apologies if you were unable to book a place for Stargazing – interest was extremely high.

Sam Barnes, Helping Hands for Heritage Project Officer, explains, “The night skies are an important part of the character of the AONB and contribute to its tranquillity, but it is being affected by light pollution”.

Sam continues, “Only 11% of England still has truly dark night skies, as the threat of light pollution from our surrounding towns and cities increases. This also has an affect on wildlife by interrupting migration & feeding patterns”.

To take part in the Community Star Count, we are asking people to step outside on one evening between 11th and 20th December and let your eyes get accustomed to the darkness. Locate and observe the constellation Orion (full details of how to do this at and count the number of stars that you see.

Everyone who submits their star count will be entered into a prize draw. Results will be available from the beginning of February.


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Discovery Trail Challenge supports Devon disability charity

Next year’s Discovery Trail Challenge, a walk along the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’s long-distance route, will take place on Saturday 11th July and will raise funds for Living Options Devon.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, this registered charity runs the Countryside Mobility scheme that provides the ‘Tramper’ (all terrain scooter) for use by people with limited mobility, enabling them to enjoy the Tamar Trails. The group also offers a wide range of services and projects that support people with disabilities across Devon.

Diana Crump, CEO, Living Options said, “We are really thrilled to hear that we have been nominated as the Charity of Choice by the Tamar Valley Discovery Trail Challenge. The funds raised will make a huge difference to the lives of disabled people across the South West and we would like to thank everyone who is planning to take part.”

The Discovery Trail Challenge, now in its third year, and this year will be a 15-mile walk finishing at the Tamar Trails Centre.

Along both routes there will be refreshment stops, First Aid stations and transport at the end, to take walkers back to the Tamerton Foliot after the walk.

Becki Lumbis, Education & Community Resource Officer for the Tamar Valley AONB, says, “The Discovery Trail is one of the most varied and rewarding routes to walk in the South West. Many people enjoy walking sections of the Trail, but the full route can seem daunting if venturing out alone. This organised walk offers people the chance to walk the whole Trail, knowing that there is help or refreshment close by.”

The cost to sign up for the Discovery Trail Challenge is £20, but the Tamar Valley AONB team are offering an early-bird special of just £15 for those signing-up before 28th February.

To book your place, or for further details, please contact Becki Lumbis – 01822 835030,


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Turner in the Tamar Valley Exhibition

Crossingthe BrookFollowing the discovery of new JMW Turner sketches of key iconic Tamar Valley views, and to coincide with the newly-released film, Mr. Turner, a Turner in the Tamar Valley Exhibition will be held at the Tamar Valley Centre, Drakewalls, next month.

The exhibition, including the new sketches, will run daily from Tuesday 16th – Friday 19th December, 10am – 4pm.

Local Turner enthusiasts, Dorothy Kirk & Di Cook, will give a talk on the evening of Monday 15th December, 7pm, revealing more about Turner’s journey in and around the Tamar Valley in the early 19th century.

Please call 01822 835030 or email for more details of the FREE evening talk, and to book your place (donations welcome for Tamar Valley Community Bus).

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Is nearby heritage at risk?

long barrow

Join the Tamar Valley AONB team next month for a FREE training day to discover the heritage assets on your doorstep and find out why they are so important.

Learn how heritage is protected and recorded in the Tamar Valley, and find out the answers to these, and other, questions;

  • Should we remove ivy from our old buildings?
  • Is putting a roof on an old derelict building the best way to protect it?
  • What is the impact of farming on archaeology?
  • Is conservation and preservation the same thing?

Holmbush Whim Winter 2010_11 copyThe day is organised and funded through the Helping Hands for Heritage project. Sam Barnes, Project Officer, says, “This is a great chance to look closely at our local heritage features. Many are not statutorily protected, but are locally and regionally very important. We will find out whether these features are at risk and how volunteers can help with their management.”

The event will begin at the Tamar Valley Centre at 9:15am on Saturday 13th December, with an informal workshop. Local archaeology expert, Iain Rowe, formerly of the Caradon Hill Area Heritage Project, will be on hand to explain all you need to know.

The day includes site visits in the Callington area by minibus, refreshments and lunch, and should finish at 4pm.

This session provides an opportunity to work towards an AQA accreditation. For further details, please contact Becki Lumbis – 01822 835030,

Booking is essential for this event as spaces are limited, so please book early to avoid disappointment – 01822 835030,


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Discovering the Industrial Archaeology of the Tamar Valley

On 8th November, 24 people joined Cornwall Council’s Senior Archaeologist Colin Buck to discover more about the fascinating industrial archaeology of the Tamar Valley AONB and World Heritage Site. Following a presentation on the importance of historic mining in Cornwall and West Devon and the significance of the World Heritage Site, we journeyed around Drakewalls Mine, Cotehele, Danescombe Valley, Calstock and Tavistock, learning about the conservation of industrial heritage sites and future plans for Tavistock as a key centre in the World Heritage Site.


The group at Bedford Square, Tavistock

More photos can be viewed on our Facebook page: 

For more information on the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape Word Heritage Site please visit their website: 

As part of the Helping Hands for Heritage project we will be running more training days and events relating to the protection and conservation of archaeology and heritage, to encourage enthusiastic volunteers to research, visit and monitor the condition of heritage assets across the Tamar Valley AONB. To find out more please get in touch with Sam Barnes, Project Officer at the Tamar Valley AONB by emailing or calling 01822 835032

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