AboutThe Tamar Valley - Devon / Cornwall border
An Introduction to the Tamar Valley Area
Breathtaking scenery and a rich and varied wildlife.
The Tamar Valley is an area rich in beauty and history, possessing some of the finest scenery in the West Country. The Estuary is an important haven for wildlife, such as the avocet and little egret. The valley of the river Tamar - and its tributaries, the Tavy and Lynher - is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - for full details visit the AONB website
Great walking country, with river and train trips
Explore the area by train on the scenic Tamar Valley Line, by boat on the Tamar Passenger Ferry or pleasure cruises from Plymouth, by car or on foot on the extensive network of local footpaths - there's a route to suit everyone - plus two on-road circuits for cyclists.
Interesting villages and bustling country towns
The valley is marked by four ancient towns: Launceston in the North - with its steam railway and Norman castle; Tavistock to the East - gateway to Dartmoor with daily pannier market for food and crafts; Callington in the West - with its unusual mural trail, and Saltash - best known for Brunel's Royal Albert Bridge, now partnered by the impressive road bridge. Many of the villages also have their own guides and walking trails.
Fascinating mining heritage and a rich agricultural history
The distinctiveness of the Valley has been shaped by both time and
people. Mining thrived here from medieval times, exploiting silver and tin reserves - but it was copper in the 1800's which made the greatest impact. In today's tranquillity, it is hard to imagine that at the height of the mining boom there were over 100 mines along the river. Atmospheric chimneys and ruins throughout the valley serve as a reminder of this industrial past. Morwellham grew as an inland port to serve the mines, and today has been brought back to life as a living history museum, offering you a taste of Victorian life.
The river has been the official border between the counties of Devon and Cornwall since Saxon times. It was a vital trade link for the mining industry, and for agriculture and horticulture. Produce from the fertile valley slopes was transported to Plymouth and beyond, and returning barges brought lime and dock dung back to the many quays dotted along its length, for use on the farms.
Beautiful historic houses and glorious gardens
Today the valley has many fine houses to visit, including medieval
Cotehele House, Buckland Abbey - the home of Sir Frances Drake,
and Mount Edgcumbe House on the Rame peninsula, plus a thousand year old castle at Launceston. There are great gardens open to the public, such as the Garden House at Buckland Monachorum, and Endsleigh at Milton Abbot.
Plenty of attractions and activities
You will also find many attractions and activities - family fun at the Donkey Park; railway history at the Tamar Belle Heritage Centre and Launceston Steam Railway; sailing with TamarSail, guided walks with On Your Left, and horse riding.
Distinctive local foods, arts and crafts
The Tamar Valley offers opportunities to sample and take home locally produced food and drink - visit one of the Farmers' Markets at Tavistock, Stoke Climsland, Callington and Delaware. Skilled artists and craftspeople produce a wide range of beautiful and fascinating work for sale.
Great pubs, cafes and restaurants
Finally, relax and enjoy tasty food and drink - from simple snacks to gourmet meals - at local pubs and restaurants. And no visit to the area would be complete without at least one traditional cream tea!