The Mayor of West Devon, Cllr Robin Musgrave, made the first cut of turf at a ground breaking ceremony for the new Tamar Trails Centre which took place on 27th September at Tamar Trails, Gulworthy, near Tavistock.
The centre will become the main hub for exploring the 25km of trails for walkers, cyclists and horse riders which follow old mineral tramways and railways, around the former mining landscape now a World Heritage Site, including what was once the largest copper mine in Europe.
Cllr Musgrave says: “The turf cutting ceremony will mark the start of an exciting development which will enhance what’s already available at Gulworthy Sawmills and the Tamar Trails.
“The redeveloped centre will only help to attract more people to this truly captivating area, where you can take a journey back in time to West Devon’s mining past or enjoy some of the most precious wildlife habitats in the country.”
The new Tamar Trails Centre will house an interpretation and education facility, a small café and family friendly facilities including an outdoor play area.
It is a joint project between West Devon Borough Council and Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and will cost £200,000 with funding from West Devon Borough Council, the Heritage Lottery, Devon County Council and “Discover the Extraordinary” Rural Development Programme for England – which promotes key attractions across the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.
Tim Selman, who was the manager of the Tamar Valley AONB until this year, comments: “We are delighted that work on the new Tamar Trails Centre has begun. Together they will bring huge benefits to the local community and visitors in terms of access and use.
“The centre will be at the hub of an exciting calendar of activities in the area for everyone, from those interested in conservation and heritage to families with young children.
“We’ve managed to put a considerable amount of money into the landscape and we hope the Valley can take advantage of this and capitalise on new opportunities. We hope the investment brings the benefits to communities that we envisaged when we started.”
The scheme involves refurbishing and extending the existing building which is home to TreeSurfers, a local business offering adventure activities such as high ropes courses, zip wires and archery. TreeSurfers will continue to run the centre. It is expected to open in spring 2013.