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The Tamar Valley

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The Tamar Valley is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty found in southwest England in the counties of Cornwall and Devon. Located just north and west of the city of Plymouth, the Tamar Valley hugs three rivers – the Tamar, the Tavy and the Lynher. This eclectic mix of estuary, river and ancient woodlands makes the Valley a unique and enchanting part of the country that offers visitors a wide range of activities and attractions to keep them busy.  

The Tamar Valley

Explorers can walk, ride or cruise through the Tamar Valley. It provides excellent walking country through well managed trails and routes. Of particular interest is the Discovery Trail, which spans 30 miles from Plymouth to Launceston over woodland, through rural villages and past quays. Kit Hall Country Park near Callington is great for walking and to appreciate the Valley's scenery.

Cyclists will also enjoy the paths and quiet roads, and canoeists can paddle down one of the many waterways on guided tours. The Tamar Valley Line is a railway service with a scenic 14-mile route from Plymouth to Gunnislake that follows the River Tamar and crosses the Calstock viaduct.

The Tamar Passenger Ferry gives guests a tour of the region by water as it crosses from Devon to Cornwall, and other pleasure cruise operators can be hired in Plymouth. The estuary and river valleys also draw wildlife enthusiasts, as they are important habitats for rare and unique species in the area, such as the avocet and the little egret.

Families and children may enjoy visiting the Donkey Park, Hidden Valley Discovery Park at Launceston, going sailing with TamarSail or learning about the railway history at the Tamar Belle Heritage Centre and Launceston Steam Railway. Towns worth a stop include Launceston, famous for its steam railway and castle, the markets in Tavistock, Callington's art heritage and mural trail and Saltash, where famous engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel built the Royal Albert Bridge over the Tamar. 

The area's prehistoric and industrial pasts are well preserved and documented in heritage sites dotted around the region. Those interested in history will enjoy visits to the living history museum of Morwellham, which offers a sample of Victorian life when the region was bustling with mining activity; historic buildings like Buckland Abbey (once the home of Sir Francis Drake), Mount Edgcumbe House on the Rame peninsula and the 1,000-year-old castle at Launceston. The area has more recently become well known for its food festivals and farmers' markets, as farming and market gardening are still large industries in the region.

Information about the region can be found at the Tamar Valley Centre near Gunnislake. The Tamar Valley lies next to Plymouth, which has regular bus and train access to the rest of the country. The Tamar Valley Tourism Association web site can help prospective visitors find and book accommodation, no matter what type you may be looking for. 







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