Bridge complete over new wetland

By Sarah Pitt   |   Reporter   |
Monday 29th November 2021 7:00 am
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Picture by Peter Thompson

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CALSTOCK is ‘very excited’ about the completion of its walkway and wetland project, as the footbridge is finally completed.

The footbridge over the newly-created wetland carries one of the few public footpaths running up and down the River Tamar. It is expected to open in the next few weeks, after six weeks in which the path was closed to walkers to allow the Environment Agency to carry out the work. The Tamar Community Trust, which has worked with the Environment Agency on the project, is now studying responses from residents on future use of Town Farm Field.

A consultation event held in Calstock Village Hall on Saturday was attended by more than 50 people. The trust is seeking to make an income from staging events on the field to pay for the upkeep of the footbridge.The charity stresses that Town Farm Field will still be open for camping for up to 28 days of the year.

The field has been used in recent years as camping for those attending the Bike Show which takes place in the village in August, bringing bikers from far and wide.

Jane Kiely, chairperson of the Tamar Community Trust, said that the idea was to use the a field to bring in an income, and the charity had held the event on Saturday at Calstock Village Hall to find out what use of the field people in the village would be happy with.

Jane said: ‘The event on Saturday went very well. We had about 50-60 people and most people were very positive about it and very excited. They are very excited about the opening of the bridge.’

She explained that Town Farm Field, a farmer’s field close to the new bridge, was part of the project. ‘The Environment Agency has leased it to the Tamar Community Trust and we are going to use the income for that to finance the maintenance for that to maintain the walkway and path. That is what we are asking for, ideas from the community for what it will be used for. From what we could tell on Saturday, the majority of people have found the whole thing really quite exciting.They are looking forward to walking over the bridge again and seeing the water flowing underneath. And we are looking forward to having the wildlife there.’

The two-year project saw the embankment breached by the Environment Agency’s contractors to allow tidal water from the river to flood into the wetlands, creating an 11-hectare intertidal saltmarsh. This is expected to prove an attraction to coastal birds travelling up the River Tamar from Plymouth Sound on the tide. The bridge is an impressive structure which has been made of a tropical hardwood called Green Hart.

It has been donated to the Tamar Community Trust by the Environment Agency, having been recycled from a sea defence scheme on the south coast of England. The plan is to hold an official opening ceremony for the community in the spring, but it will be open to walkers again before Christmas.

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