Horse riders can saddle up and enjoy vast tracts of previously inaccessible countryside in the Tamar Valley from the starting point of the recently opened (28 March) Tamar Trails Centre on the Devon Cornwall border.
Until recently, much of the 25km which make up the new Tamar Trails have been out of bounds to the public, but thanks to the Tamar Valley Mining Heritage Project one of the Westcountry’s biggest and newest areas has been completed enabling horse riders to enjoy a large proportion of it.
Trails have been created utilising and revitalising existing transport routes wherever possible. Much of the land is still privately owned but negotiation with landowners has enabled public rights of way to be leased, joining up a continuous network of trails.
There are two circular routes for riders offering a variety of different terrains, from cool and hilly forest paths to more open grassland tracks. Morwell Rocks is five miles long and can be combined with Devon Great Consols, once one of Europe’s greatest copper mines and also five miles, for an all day ride, or both can be completed separately.
The Tamar Valley was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1995 and the landscape forms part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site, designated in 2006, together with nine other areas in Cornwall.
The project is the culmination of at least ten years work during which time the landscape has been made safe and the historic environment and wildlife habitats conserved.
Key funding partners include the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Tamar Valley AONB, West Devon Borough Council , Devon County Council and the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site, the latter through 'Discover the Extraordinary', a project within the Rural Development Programme for England funded by the European Union and DEFRA.
After enjoying the Valley, riders can head to the newly opened Tamar Trails Centre, adjacent to the car park, which incorporates the Beech Café. This new visitor centre is a one-stop information area and also houses an education and interpretation facility, including a planned project that will soon see live video footage of wildlife on the site – from bats and badgers, to barn owls.
Parking at the Tamar Trails for horse transport is £4 per day which is re-invested into the maintenance of the trails. Riders will also need to buy a permit costing £5 which can be obtained by contacting the AONB on 01822 835030.
Download a poster from the Tamar Trails website (pdf)