The River Tamar Walkway & Wetland Project

The Tamar Community Trust has entered into an agreement with the Environment Agency to act as a key delivery partner for a £2.2million flood defence scheme on the River Tamar at Calstock, south east Cornwall.

Due to rising sea levels, more extreme weather and deterioration in the historic embankment, Calstock has become more at risk from flooding. As a result, the Environment Agency has obtained funding to construct new embankments and create intertidal wetland habitat in part of the flood plain. Once completed, these wetlands will help to protect against river flooding and surge tides whilst providing important biodiversity habitat. Phase 1 of the wetland creation work is now complete with the area on the landward side of the embankment reprofiled to provide a range of scraps and lagoons. The next phase will see the breach of the current flood bank to create a 14ha intertidal habitat and this work is anticipated to take place in autumn 2022. Once the breach has been made, the wetland will change progressively from a freshwater to an intertidal regime.

The Trust has agreed to partner the Agency by delivering The River Tamar Walkway and Wetland Project. This will ensure a key 1.2 km stretch of the Tamar Valley Discovery Trail directly upstream from Calstock is maintained by designing and building a walkway above a breach in the current flood defence bank. The Tamar Valley Discovery Trail is a nationally promoted long-distance walking route through the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a part of the desire to achieve a coast to coast link to enable a complete circuit of Cornwall in association with the South West Coast Path Association. Initial work on the pilings for the walkway will commence in Summer 2021.

 

Image (c) Tamar Community Trust

As part of its agreement with the Trust, the Environment Agency has agreed to lease a 6-acre meadow next to the village to the Trust for local amenity use once works for the walkway are completed. Funds from events to be held there will be used to maintain this section of the Tamar Valley Discovery Trail and the walkway structure.

Jane Kiely, Chairperson of the Tamar Community Trust said:

“The River Tamar Walkway and Wetland Project sits directly within our stated role to work alongside the Tamar Valley AONB to undertake work that helps protect, conserve and promote the natural landscape and heritage of the Tamar Valley. We are delighted to be able to support the community around Calstock with this important project, which should protect them from flooding, maintain public access to the River Tamar and provide the local community with long-term access to an important local amenity field.”

Julian Brooke Houghton from the Environment Agency said:

“With funding focussed primarily on protecting homes, essential work to protect smaller communities like Calstock depends on local partnerships to make the most of any scheme. This partnership has ensured that flood risk is managed, the environment is enhanced and a popular riverside walk is retained and even enhanced”.

Julian continues, “The Agency is delighted that the Trust and the Partnership Group have persevered to reach this agreement for the benefit of the entire community.”

The Tamar Valley AONB, Calstock Parish Council and Calstock Footpath Society have also played a key role in ensuring that the various stakeholders in the project have been represented.

There has been considerable interest in the newly created wetlands and a fledgling group of bird watchers has a Facebook page and membership over 250 with such a lot of interest in the wildlife and wonderful photos are regularly being posted.

Update – Tamar Community Trust is delighted to announce that the Cornwall Community Foundation has approved a grant of £5,000 towards the construction of a walkway at Calstock.

Main image (c) Pete Thompson – Tamar Community Trust

 

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