Pete Thompson, Trustee of the Tamar Community Trust, provides an update on the River Tamar Walkway & Wetland project, taking place in Calstock…
Work is progressing steadily, and a pattern of ‘ponds’ is appearing across the fields as material is excavated to build up the new bunds.
Keen observers may notice that none of the existing drainage ditches are being breached as yet. This is to make sure that while the work is going on, a minimal amount of material is flushed into the river. You may also notice that the topsoil is being pushed aside, so that only the subsoil is used in the construction of the bunds. The topsoil will later be dressed over the finished bunds in order to promote a rapid re-growth of vegetation and to protect the new bunds from erosion.
It is interesting to see, with the absence of sheep grazing, how the grasses have grown. This has attracted the odd flock of gold finches after the abundant seeds. Swallows and house martins frequently skim the grass cover hunting for insects. A rise in the population of rodents such as mice and voles is apparent much to the delight of the village cats. This has also attracted regular visits from a kestrel hovering over the fields, and a few weeks ago, a barn owl was heard in the big oak tree overlooking the field. These are all good signs of how the changes could enrich the wildlife.
Plans are afoot to make a series of drone flights over the area to capture the transition over time from fields to wetland. The footage will then be made available to the public.
The Tamar Community Trust finalised an agreement with the Environment Agency to manage the dry field (Town Farm Field). With that, an initial injection of funding was secured that enabled the Trust to assign a design engineer company to proceed with completing the bridge design. It is hoped that a final design will be ready by the end of July, so that we can move on to the next stage. It is not expected that there will be any on-site construction of the bridge until next year.
main image: View from Eric Road (c) Pete Thompson