Thursday, 16 July 2009

Bernard Cornwell, The Pale Horseman: River Tamar / Tamur ****

The Tamar (pronounced /ˈteɪmɑr/) is a river in South West England, that forms most of the border between Devon (to the east) and Cornwall (to the west). At its mouth, the Tamar flows into the Hamoaze where it joins with the River Lynher before entering Plymouth Sound. The river has some 20 road crossings, including the Tamar Bridge, a toll bridge on the A38 trunk road and the Royal Albert Bridge, both are at Saltash known as the Gateway to Cornwall and the Tamar Valley.
The Tamar's source is less than 6km (4 miles) from the north Cornish coast, but it flows southward. North of the source the Cornish border heads to the sea along Marsland Water, making Cornwall nearly an island.
In a few places the border deviates from the river, leaving, for instance, the Devon village of Bridgerule on the 'Cornish' side. The modern administrative border between Devon and Cornwall more closely follows the Tamar than the historic county border. Several villages north of Launceston which are west of the Tamar were actually in Devon until the 1960s.

The Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covers around 195km² (75 square miles) around the lower Tamar (below Launceston) and its tributaries the Tavy and the Lynher. It was first proposed in 1963, but was not designated until 1995. Rocks around the edge of Dartmoor were mineralised by fluids driven by the heat, which gave rise to ores containing tin, copper, tungsten, lead and other minerals in the Valley.

Morewellham Quay

During the industrial revolution the Tamar was an important river for shipping copper from ports such as Morwellham Quay and New Quay (Devon) to south Wales where it would be smelted. A traditional Cornish tale claims that the devil would never dare to cross the River Tamar into Cornwall for fear of ending up as a pasty filling

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