Tamar Trail Festival – 26th May – 1st June

Cover - TF guide 2014Join the Tamar Valley AONB team during May half-term week for their annual Tamar Trail Festival; packed with 25 events and activities for you to enjoy throughout the Valley.

Come along to a family fun day on the Tamar Trails, with bush craft, storytelling, activity hunts and geocaching. Or you may choose to visit one of three exhibitions – Cornish geology, market gardening in the Tamar Valley or Cornwall Open Studios. The ever-popular guided tours of Greystone Quarry are back for you to enjoy, or you may prefer to spend some time mountain biking or canoeing. Other events include a bug hunt at Drakewalls Mine, Nightjar walk & talk, Tamar Grow Local’s food market and a chance to learn more about waterpower at Morwellham.

IMG_0629The Trail Festival celebrates the £7 million Mining Heritage Project that conserved the rich mining heritage of the Tamar Valley.

Becki Lumbis, Education & Community Resource Officer for the Tamar Valley AONB, says, “The Festival highlights the work achieved, including the conservation of mining remains, enhancement of important wildlife habitats, creation of 25km of multi-use trails, and the opening of the Tamar Trails Centre at Gulworthy – the hub for exploring the Tamar Trails and our mining heritage. There’s something for all ages & abilities, we’re looking forward to seeing you!”

Many events are FREE of charge, but we are expecting the Festival to be popular, so please book your places early to avoid disappointment.


The Tamar Trail Festival, encouraging you to discover more within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, will run from Monday 26th May – Sunday 1st June. FREE guides will be available from local outlets towards the end of April, or download your FREE programme of events now. For further information please contact Becki Lumbis at the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty team on 01822 835030, rlumbis@tamarvalley.org.uk


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Countryside gets set to claim £15billion under CAP reform

Thousands of people involved in farming, wildlife preservation and rural businesses recently received details setting out how they might benefit from £15 billion in EU funding over the new seven years Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) period.

Defra, working with the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), Natural England, Forestry Commission and the Rural Development Team has published more information on how the new schemes will work, as part of a drive to ensure people are given regular updates so they know what they need to do to claim and when.

The CAP Reform Countdown An Introduction to the new Common Agricultural Policy schemes in England is being sent to more than 110,000 existing customers of land-based schemes in England and includes a timeline drawing together on a single page a snapshot of all the schemes. There is also more information on the roll-out of a new online service which will make it quick and simple to apply.

Farming Minister George Eustice said:

“We are determined to implement the CAP in a way that is as simple, affordable and effective as possible and are working together across Defra to help people understand how the reforms will affect them, what they need to do and when, and how to get more information.

“Defra has worked hard over years of negotiations to get the best deal possible for the UK’s farmers, rural communities and the environment. Our aim now is to ensure everyone who wants to apply for a share of these CAP funds is able to do so quickly and simply and that the countdown to the new CAP is as smooth as possible.”

Mark Grimshaw, Chief Executive of the RPA said:

“This implementation is being done in a very different way to last time because the system is being built in stages. Therefore, the transition will be an evolving process. “However, there is action farmers can take, and decisions they must make, throughout the coming months to ensure they are ready to apply in 2015 for the new schemes. They will need to play their part in making sure the information we hold is accurate throughout the year.

“At each step of the countdown, the most up to date guidance will be on GOV.UK to help farmers, land managers and rural businesses understand how the new CAP will affect them. This first information is also going out to all existing customers by e-mail or paper.”

The GOV.UK website provides a single point of access to further guidance on CAP. The new CAP Reform Countdown symbol on the cover of the information is being used to flag up important information about CAP Reform. Farmers and land managers will see this on webpages and other documents in coming months.

As decisions are made this information will be:

  • Timely – RPA is already letting farmers and land managers know now with their 2014 Single Payment Scheme (SPS) applications about early business decisions they must take on issues like entitlements transfer and crop diversification.
  • Available to everyone who needs it – existing and potential new customers
  • Easy to understand and act upon – no complicated jargon
  • Clearly signposted – the CAP Reform Countdown symbol means there is important information you need to know or actions to take now.

Anyone interested in reading more about CAP reform and the discussions that are taking place – including the Defra consultations – should go to www.gov.uk/cap-reform.

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Reflections on being a Valley Volunteer

One of our volunteers, Sharyn, has written some reflections on the work she is delivering for us at the moment:

The Tamar Valley Market Gardening Project (part II) is really taking off and our tiny team of two research volunteers (Sally and me) needs help!  There’s an intriguing selection of research topics to chose from and you don’t need to bring archival research experience (guidance is readily available), just unbridled curiosity and enthusiasm.  I’m looking at the role of the great estates in encouraging market gardening, and Sally is comparing market gardening pre and post World War II. Topics up for grabs include: miners becoming market gardeners; the provision of fruit to the navy; infrastructure such as tracks linking gardens with the railways; and key figures such as James Lawry and Mr Jackson of Clamoak.

I was initially a bit apprehensive about what I could offer: although I’ve done quite a lot of landscape history research, it’s not been in the Tamar Valley, where I’m very new. However, the AONB staff have been very welcoming and supportive (sometimes there’s cake!) and my knowledge has come on by leaps and bounds. My first task was to list the archival material that the AONB holds and this immersed me in Tamar Valley market gardening.  Now, it’s on to research, with all the necessary ‘tools’ provided, for example, the use of computers at the Tamar Valley Centre, if desired.

For me, there’s not only the huge intrinsic interest of doing the research, and learning so much from it (and it really is fascinating) but, as an incomer (and an Australian, to boot – although with highly valued Cornish mining ancestry!), through my involvement with the project I feel that I’m beginning to become not just in the Tamar Valley, but of it.

If you’d like to help Sharyn and Sally out with their research, please contact Sam Barnes at the Tamar Valley AONB on 01822 835032 or email volunteering@tamarvalley.org.uk


Sharyn immersed in her research into Tamar Valley landowners

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Wacker to Antony Trail Volunteer Workday

Title: Wacker to Antony Trail Volunteer Workday
Location: Wacker to Antony Trail
Description: We’ll be:

Cutting back overgrown vegetation and long grass along the Trail and down to the car park at Wacker Quay.

Clearing silt from the gully beside the path to help with drainage

Installing two new oak benches along Abbotscourt Lane. Thanks to the Tamar Valley AONB Sustainable Development Fund for providing these.

Bring good footwear and gloves.
Tools provided.
Hot drinks available.

Meet at the top of Abbotscourt Lane, Antony Village, opposite the village shop

For information please contact Dave Readman at Tamar Community Trust: 07792 483669, email: dreadman@tamarvalley.org.uk
Start Time: 11:00
Date: 2014-04-27
End Time: 16:00

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Plymouth University students on placement

We have recently had two work placement students with us from Plymouth University. Rowena, who is studying for a Masters in Sustainable Environmental Management and did some work with us looking at visitor gifting, spent 12 days with us. Russell, who is studying for a MSc in Environmental Consultancy, was with us for 9 weeks, completing a substantial project and getting stuck in with many of the tasks that the AONB team do on a daily basis. Below Russell gives a run down into what he was involved with.

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The AONB team with Russell and Rowena at Port Eliot

My work placement blog

I started my work placement with the Tamar Valley AONB on the 11 March 2014. I went straight into a team meeting and this gave me a brief understanding of the goings on within the organisation and a chance to meet the team. I felt quite nervous at the start but felt quite comfortable as the meeting progressed.  After the meeting, I sat down with Sam (Mentor), Corinna (Manager) and Ben (Planner) to discuss my ideas for my project: to investigate the visual impact of renewable energy on the setting of the AONB.  Then, Sam and Ben gave me a tour around the AONB including Kit Hill, Weir Quay and Calstock looking at the effects of visual impacts of renewables and building designs within the landscape.

On the 12th March I attended a World Heritage Site Panel meeting in Liskeard with Sam to discuss a range of issues associated with Scheduled Monuments and listed buildings.  The majority of the people attending the meeting were representatives from Cornwall Council and the World Heritage Site team.  I was not too sure what to expect at the start of the meeting or what the meeting was going to entail.  Although this is not my topic of interest, I learnt a vast amount from the meeting, especially the issues arising from the winter storms and the damage it has caused to significant historic buildings. It has also given me an experience of the ongoings of the World Heritage Site, and how the meeting was conducted.  For the rest of the week I did some research and planned how I was going to conduct the investigation for my project.  This included a discussion with Ben, who provided me with a great deal of useful information and what I should be aiming to achieve.

In the second week, I was given a task to write a short summary of evaluation for Devon County Council about the CORDIALE project.  At the start I had no idea what the CORDIALE project was, or the field trials that Tamar Valley AONB has delivered.  The work involved a lot of reading and it was sometimes tedious.  However, I felt that I learned a lot more about the AONB and what they have recently achieved.  I was also asked to come up with future projects which the organisation can conduct, which I was thrilled about.

On the 18th March I visited the National Trust at Cotehele to meet Chris who is one of the gardeners there to discuss orchards and market gardening. Chris took Sam and I on the tour of the Tudor house and the gardens that have belonged to the Edgecumbe family for many years.  We also visited the Quay and had a look around Shamrock, a historic boat with a significant past.

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Inside Shamrock at Cotehele Quay

In the third week, I attended an invasive plant project meeting with representatives from Natural England and the EA. The idea of the project is to eradicate Giant Hogweed. We also had a team meeting on the same day and talked for a few minutes on what I have learned during my time so far with the AONB.  On the 27th March I attended a meeting at the Cornwall Council offices in St Austell.  A representative from the British Geological Survey gave a presentation about geo-mapping and the new data that has been collated during their investigation and how it can be used, which I found interesting.

During week four, I spent most of my time concentrating on desk based study work for my project.  I also spent some time writing a case study to assess the feasibility of woodfuel at Pentillie Castle, which had been developed through the CORDIALE project.  That week we also had a team-planning day at the Long Gallery in St. Germans, Cornwall.  The idea of the day was to discuss different issues, future projects and improvements that may be needed, followed by a nice lunch and a tour of Port Eliot.  I felt that I was more involved with the organisation and that my ideas and opinions were taken into consideration.

The week after I went up onto Kit Hill to sketch the landscape to get a better understanding of the typical special and distinctive features that are present within the Tamar Valley AONB.  On the 8th April Corinna and I went to a renewable energy marketplace event in Exeter, organised by Regen SW. It was an amazing experience as I had a chance to talk to many different people from a range of backgrounds including environmental consultants, renewable energy experts, etc. It was also an opportunity to learn new things and a chance to make some new contacts.  In the following week, Sam and I did some work to develop a smaller case study exploring tranquillity in Calstock village.  We started from the west of the village and worked our way east.  We measured the light, odour and the visual character of the area.  This was conducted through personal judgement and was quite subjective.  The activity provided me with new skill sets on how to assess the level of tranquility.


An old photo of Calstock from the river bank. How much has changed compared to today?

Towards the end of the fifth week, myself, Sam and Ben went on a site visit to assess the potential impact of an application for 1000 new houses at Saltash and 350 homes at Botus Fleming, Cornwall.  It provided me an insight of how planners assess the landscape and visual impact of these applications.  It provided me with more knowledge and experience on the methods used to assess planning applications.

In the sixth week, I focused on writing up my main project as well as the tranquillity project.  I also designed a pilot study for my main project methodology to assess the impact of wind and solar farms on the setting of the AONB.  It had not quite worked and needed to be revised.  The week after, I attended the Tamar Valley AONB launch for a new Heritage Lottery Funded project, Helping Hands for Heritage.  This was a fantastic opportunity to understand what the organisation is about and to see who the partners are.  I was involved in some aspects of the day such as the discussion at the Partnership meeting before the launch. In the following week, I tested my revised methodology at Rezare and Trebullett, Cornwall.  It showed that my methodology had worked but there were still some issues with it that needed to be improved upon.

I feel that I have achieved the goals that I set out before my work placement. The placement has given me some valuable skills and insights into the role of planning within an AONB.  The organisation also provided me with a range of mini projects, conferences and meetings to attend.  They ensured that I got the best experience out of the work placement and provided resources that were useful to me.  Even though it was not my first choice in terms of work placement, I had a great time working for the Tamar Valley AONB.



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K’antu Ensemble – Early Music Workshop

Title: K’antu Ensemble – Early Music Workshop
Location: Calstock Arts, The Old Chapel, Calstock, PL18 9QX
Link out: Click here
Description: K’antu Ensemble workshops are a great way to experience the music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. They are tailored to groups of young children of primary school age, although any enthusiastic parent or beginner musician/singer is welcome to take part.

Time 5.00pm-6.00pm

Tickets £8.00 over 18’s, £6.00 under 18’s

K’antu Early Music Ensemble presents Dancing and the Divine
From Montserrat in Spain to Oaxaca Cathedral in Mexico, K’antu Ensemble explore dancing and devotional song in Europe and the New World.

Tickets £12 in advance, £13 at the door.

Doors and bar 6.45pm, starts 7.30pm

Tel: 01822 833183
Tickets are available via www.calstockarts.org and from Levine’s in Calstock.
Telephone bookings-01726 879500

Date: 2014-05-30

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Calstock Singers presents The 1914 Variety Show

Title: Calstock Singers presents The 1914 Variety Show
Location: Calstock Arts, The Old Chapel, Calstock, PL18 9QX
Link out: Click here
Description: An evening of music hall songs, dance and melodrama brought to you by the Calstock Singers and SHAME of Harrowbarrow.

Be prepared to laugh, cry and sing – and if the fancy takes you, come dressed in period costume.

Doors and bar open at 7.00pm. Start time 7.30pm

Tickets £6 (no concessions) available from Levine’s in Calstock or can be reserved at 01822 835833.

Start Time: 19:30
Date: 2014-05-22

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Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin 2014 BBC FOLK AWARDS WINNERS – BEST DUO

Title: Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin 2014 BBC FOLK AWARDS WINNERS – BEST DUO
Location: Calstock Arts, The Old Chapel, Calstock, PL18 9QX
Link out: Click here
Description: A welcome return to Calstock Arts for this outstanding duo, winners of the Best Duo category of the 2014 BBC Folk Awards.

Recognised as one of the finest slide guitarists the UK has ever produced, Phillip Henry is also a virtuoso on the harmonica.

Hannah Martin is a singer, songwriter, fiddle-and-banjo player, originally from Devon.

Her songs weave folklore and legend old and new with beautiful melodies, while retaining a strong sense of the living tradition.

Tickets £12 in advance, £13 at the door.

Doors and bar open 7.00pm, start time 8.00pm

Tel: 01822 833183
Tickets are available via www.calstockarts.org and from Levine’s in Calstock.
Telephone bookings-01726 879500

Start Time: 20:00
Date: 2014-05-10

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Madrigals Weekend & Concert with Helen Porter

Title: Madrigals Weekend & Concert with Helen Porter
Location: Calstock Arts, The Old Chapel, Calstock, PL18 9QX (Kelly Room)
Description: The course attracts singers from all over Cornwall who already sing in other choirs, and the standard is high! Practice recordings and scores are available in advance of the weekend for those who would like them.

The weekend will end with a public concert on Sunday 4 May at 4.00pm. Free entry.

Price £50 for the weekend.

Bookings and enquiries to Helen Porter – helen@counterparts.org.uk / 01822 833668

Start Date: 2014-05-03
End Date: 2014-05-04

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