The Luxulyan Valley is set to benefit from a £3.6 million National Lottery funding injection to restore and conserve the Valley’s physical and natural environment for future generations to enjoy. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant was awarded to Cornwall Council, in partnership with Cornwall Heritage Trust after years of work to secure the funds.
The Luxulyan Valley is widely acknowledged for the importance of its industrial heritage and is part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site, as designated by UNESCO.
It contains a complex system of leats (artificial water courses) which delivered water essential for the efficient working of some of central Cornwall’s most important copper mines. Water from the Valley was also conveyed by leat to the copper ore and china clay shipping port at Charlestown, and via a purpose built canal to the mineral harbour at Par.
The National Lottery funding will be used to restore the two leat systems within the Valley and also its ‘jewel in the crown’ – the spectacular Treffry Viaduct, built from 1839-1842.
Cornwall Council will fund a separate hydro-electric turbine at Ponts Mill, reusing water from the restored leat systems. The electricity generated from the turbine will be sold to the national grid and fund the ongoing conservation of the Valley.
The Viaduct is an imposing granite structure which carries the Carmears Leat and tramway high above the Valley floor. At 27 metres tall, over 200 metres long and with 10 equal span arches this all-granite structure is an amazing feat of engineering. It is the most spectacular surviving monument to the horse drawn tramway era, for which the valley is renowned.
The HLF funding will also help nature conservation by implementing a Woodland Management Plan to improve biodiversity across the site. Volunteers will help by removing invasive plant species, whilst installing bird and bat boxes. Footpaths will also be improved to make the Valley more accessible for all visitors.
To promote the Luxulyan Valley there will be a permanent exhibition at Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum, and walking guides and information available online to inform visitors to the Valley’s fascinating history.
The Friends of Luxulyan Valley have been helping to develop an activity programme, which includes engaging with new audiences and training and volunteering opportunities. Cornwall Council has been working with the Friends on the programme and to ensure the restoration proposals fit with local aspirations.
In total, more than £5 million will be invested in the Valley providing a boost to the local economy and creating new jobs and learning opportunities. Chairman of Cornwall Heritage Trust, Lieutenant Colonel Philip Hills, said: “We are delighted that the unique Treffry Viaduct will be restored to its former working glory and saved for future generations, thanks to the opportunity given to us by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Trust is looking forward to working in partnership with Cornwall Council and the Friends of the Luxulyan Valley to enhance this World Heritage Site and conserve its important industrial heritage.”
Cornwall Councillor Sue James and Portfolio Holder for Environment and Public Protection said: “This funding will help restore of one of the finest examples of industrial heritage in the area. We hope this will help bring the Valley back to life, with the restoration bringing in more visitors, more jobs and more training. Enhanced natural environments for animals and being able to generate renewable energy are additional bonuses.”
Colonel Edward Bolitho (Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall), President of Cornwall Heritage Trust commented: “This Heritage Lottery Fund grant means that the Treffry Viaduct, a marvel of Cornish engineering, can now be fully restored within the beautiful Luxulyan Valley. The success of the bid has been due to an enormous amount of hard work by many people, who deserve an enormous amount of thanks. This is a really good day for Cornwall.”
Julian German, Chairman of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Partnership, added: “We are delighted that Heritage Lottery Funding will be used to protect Luxulyan Valley’s valuable heritage assets. The award will also contribute to reducing CO² emissions by restoring the leat systems which will feed into the new Hydro Electric Turbine at Ponts Mill. This is a great example of partnership working for local communities.”
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “Luxulyan Valley is a beautiful and historic part of the UK. Thanks to National Lottery players, part of Cornwall’s industrial heritage will now not only be conserved and protected but will also continue to play a part in the lives of local people through training and volunteering whilst contributing to the local economy.”
Cornwall Council and Cornwall Heritage Trust will now develop further detailed plans so the scheme can start in January 2018 and be delivered over the next three years.
The Luxulyan Valley is situated just outside the village of Luxulyan, approximately three miles from the Eden Project and is a key component of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. Today, beyond its historic importance, the Valley is renowned for its natural beauty and much loved for its tranquillity. However the internationally important heritage assets need substantial repairs to continue functioning.