The River Tamar walkway and Calstock Wetlands project

Re alignment of the Flood Defence bund in order to protect a number of properties in Calstock and the creation of a new intertidal habitat, while retaining the river walkway (Part of both the Tamara Coast to Coast Way and Tamar Valley Discovery Trail)

Project Lead:
Environment Agency

Project Partners:
Tamar Valley National Landscape, Tamar Community Trust, Calstock Parish Council, Calstock Footpath Society

Total Project Funding:
£3 million

Project Categories:
Nature, Climate, Place, People

2018 – 2024 with Ongoing management and maintenance by Tamar Community Trust.

Tamar Valley National Landscape Lead Officers:
Sarah Gibson, Steven Draper

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Brief History

With sea levels rising, more extreme weather and deterioration in the historic embankment, Calstock was becoming more at risk from flooding.

The Tamar Valley is designated as a Special Area of Conservation. However the tidal wetlands are also at threat by a process known as Coastal squeeze. This is where current coastal defences prevent intertidal habitats expanding inland as sea levels rise.

As a result, the Environment Agency obtained funding to construct 600m of new embankments and create a 12ha intertidal wetland habitat in part of the flood plain to improve flood resilience and increase biodiversity.

Phase 1 of the wetland creation focused on the landward side, creating a new flood embankment using the material removed while creating the scraps and lagoons prior to breaching the former and now redundant flood bank.

The Tamara Coast to Coast way and Tamar Valley Discovery Trail follow the permissive footpath along the former flood bank.

To retain public access following the breach, the Environment Agency partnered with Tamar Community Trust to deliver designs for a bridge over the breach and the ongoing maintenance of the footpath once its ownership had been transferred to Calstock Parish Council.

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Phase 2 saw the former embankment breached during the low tides of November 2021.

The intertidal habitat, which provides opportunities for community wellbeing,  started to change immediately, bringing new birds and a change to the flora and fauna. It is expected that over time a mosaic of seedbeds, mudflats and creeks will develop, helping to clean the river by trapping sediment and absorbing carbon. The changes are part of an extensive monitoring program.

Tamar Community Trust has taken on a 99 year lease to manage the wetlands and entered an agreement with Calstock Parish Council to maintain the footpath. The bridge is designed to be of low maintenance and have a life of at least 50 years.

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“The River Tamar Walkway and Wetland Project sits directly within our stated role to work alongside the Tamar Valley AONB to undertake work that helps protect, conserve and promote the natural landscape and heritage of the Tamar Valley.


We are delighted to be able to support the community around Calstock with this important project, which should protect them from flooding, maintain public access to the River Tamar and provide the local community with long-term access to an important local amenity field.”


Jane Kiely, Chair of the Tamar Community Trust:


An aerial image of the Wetlands taken late 2023

Environment Agency

Project lead as part of a flood defence and coastal squeeze strategy within the Tamar Valley

Read more about the Calstock Scheme

Tamar Community Trust

Key delivery partner with the footpath and bridge. 99 year lease to look manage the wetlands and a maintenance agreement with Calstock Parish Council to look after the footpath and bridge.

Tamar Community Trust

Calstock Parish Council

Took on ownership of the former flood defence and a lease on Town Farm field

Calstock Footpath Society

Tamar Valley National Landscape

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