Tamar Trails – the home of Tree Surfers
The Tamar Trails is the home of Tree Surfers, and so there is so much more to do here when you have finished your high ropes activities.
A fun family activity whatever the weather has in store, mountain biking offers an affordable day out for those of us keeping an eye on the purse strings. We have our own fantastic mountain biking resource right here in the Tamar Valley so you don’t have to travel far for easy, energy-burning entertainment.
The Tamar Trails – a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – offers an awesome 25km of dedicated off-road, traffic-free mountain biking trails not far from Tavistock, created around historic mine sites. This is one of the most exhilarating ways to enjoy the landscape, mining heritage and wildlife of the Tamar Valley, and it’s right on our doorstep.
There are various trails for cyclists to choose from depending on requirements and ability. Consisting in the most part of gentle, compacted stone tracks with a few steeper gradients, much of the terrain is perfectly suited to mixed ability groups and families, with a few options for longer and more challenging rides. What’s more, the trails are free to use and open all year round.
The best option for families with younger children and first time mountain bikers is the Mineral Railway Trail, which heads north from the Tamar Trails Centre for 2km or south for 3km. The trail journeys through tranquil woodland along parts of the old mineral railway that once linked Devon Great Consols Mine with Morwellham Quay on the River Tamar. It is generally a level, wide track with some short steeper sections, and kids will love hopping off to learn more about the mining heritage at the Old Mine Office.
For a more adventurous ride, try the Wheal Maria Trail. This track has a number of steep descents and climbs, passing through woodland with spectacular views across the Tamar Valley. Take the Mineral Railway Trail 2km north (20-30 minutes cycling) from the Tamar Trails Centre to join this circuit.
We also offer bike hire, perfect if you’re visiting Devon and Cornwall on holiday or just fancy giving it a try. There are helmets and bikes with tag-along units and trailers for children.
Then when you’ve worked up a sweat (or just an appetite), stop in at the Beech Café at the Tamar Trails Centre for a drink and something to eat.
Local ITV reporter Jacquie Bird recently visited the trails with her family, have a look at her video here
We’re going to let you in on a secret…
Nothing beats canoeing the River Tamar for out and out fun. There is no finer way to see the Tamar Valley than from a canoe, serenely paddling along the border of Devon and Cornwall, passing unspoilt woodland and meadows and glimpsing rarely trodden paths.
You’re guaranteed to come away buzzing, an adrenaline rush not just from completing a brilliant adventure, but from discovering a magical, hidden world.
One where birds swoop gracefully overhead or stand, poised regally on the riverbank. Where you gain a different perspective on both the river and the land, and where you’re challenged with a whole new set of skills.
The River Tamar is possibly one of the most beautiful in the whole of England, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s also one of the best rivers in the UK for fishing salmon and sea trout, and if you’re lucky you may see a leaping fish or two.
A paddle up river will take you past old chimneys, relics of Cornwall and West Devon’s mining heritage, peaceful quays that were once a lifeline for the area’s busy market gardening industry and private moorings for pretty riverside dwellings.
Canoe Tamar run regular trips throughout the summer of around two hours with a picnic stop. These tours are undertaken in traditional style Canadian canoes accompanied by qualified instructors, providing a safe way to tackle the river and learn more about the area’s rich heritage.
NB. Open canoes or ‘Canadian’ shouldn’t be confused with kayaks, which have the closed cockpit or deck. Most are made from plastic and can be paddled by up to three people. You use a single-bladed paddle. It really is the most tranquil way to explore the river.
Starting from Cotehele Quay, the National Trust property on the Cornish side of the Tamar, the tours head up river with the tide to the little town of Calstock, and beyond into the sleepy tidal reaches. Depending on the energy and enthusiasm of the group, you can expect to get as far as the ‘Pirate Ship’, perfect for recreating your own Swallows and Amazons style high adventure.
As well as a lovely way to get close to nature, a canoe trip is incredibly inclusive. Anyone from three years upwards can join, with no upper age limit. And dogs are welcome too. You don’t need any previous experience and it suits all fitness levels. Great for the entire family!
Check out the canoe trip timetable here.
The Beech Cafe
Here at The Beech Café we are passionate and committed to serving you fresh locally sourced produce served simply. We use the best in local Devon and Cornish ingredients in order to bring you a small but exciting menu. All our bread is baked 3 miles away by the fantastic Pepper Street Breads of Bere Alston and we use this along with local ingredients to provide an exciting range of sandwiches such as ham hock and pear piccalilli or Brie, bacon and tomato jam complimented with menu classics like hearty soups, bacon sandwiches and delicious Devon cream Teas!
We are also able to offer you delicious specialty coffees roasted for us by Origin Coffee of Helston, we use their Resolute blend which changes every six months with the coffee growing season. Expect a lighter espresso in the summer and something heartier in the winter. We also have a great selection of tea from Cornish blenders Miles and on hot days why not enjoy one of the great cold bottles drinks that Luscombe’s produce?!
The café is the perfect place to relax after a afternoons walk or a day’s tree surfing!
Relax and enjoy freshly prepared food, yummy cakes and fine teas and coffees.