Wendy Houvenaghel Opens New Cornish Leisure Trails
On Saturday 26 September Olympic and World Silver Medallist in Women's 3000m Individual Pursuit and double World Champion in the Women's 3000m Team Pursuit in Track Cycling, Wendy Houvenaghel officially opened the Mineral Tramways Heritage Project which adds 25km to the existing 31km of multi activity trails and links in with existing routes such as the Coast to Coast and the Great Flat Lode Trails.
The £6million regeneration project to develop a network of multi use trails and restore and conserve historic mine structures in central Cornwall is managed by Cornwall Council and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, South West Regional Development Agency, Objective One, Cornwall Council, and Parish and Town Councils in the project area.
Champion cyclist Wendy Houvenaghel said: "The Grand Launch of the Mineral Tramways Network of Trails is an excellent initiative by Cornwall Council which will allow the beautiful Cornish countryside to be explored by those who are interested in the outdoors. The trails will provide a fantastic off road alternative for individuals and families who enjoy cycling, horse riding, walking and running whilst having the opportunity to appreciate the mining history associated with the Trails. It was great to be involved in the formal opening of the Trails and to take part in Saturday's action packed event."
Cornwall Councillor and chairman of the Mineral Tramways Partnership Mark Kaczmarek joined Wendy at the official opening. Mark said: "I am delighted that the creation of the 56km network of trails offers people a unique opportunity to access a wide area that is rich in mining heritage. The project has combined better access to the carefully conserved buildings and the landscape of our proud mining past with spectacular views, exceptional wildlife diversity and the health benefits of getting out and using the trails."
The day of celebration had variety of different activities at each of the three main hubs - Elm Farm Coast to Coast Cycle Hire, King Edward Mine, Troon and Bike Chain Bissoe Bike Hire - and included guided cycle rides, walks and horse rides, face painting, book signing by local historian Joff Bullen, live music, including performances by Illogan Sparnon Silver Band at King Edward Mine, cycle demonstrations, a mountain bike assault course for children and BBQ's. Over 1,000 people enjoyed the new trails over the weekend.
At 3pm fires were lit in nine chimney stacks around central Cornwall to create a smoking chimneys event. Wendy Houvenaghel lit the fire at King Edward Mine. The evocative sight of smoke issuing from these iconic monuments to Cornwall's historic mining past was visible from vantage points on the Great Flat Lode in the Camborne and Redruth area recreating the vista of the heyday of Cornwall's mineral activity.
Much of the trails network closely follows the tramway and railway routes once used to transport ore and vital supplies to and from the area's many tin and copper mines to ports such as Devoran and Portreath.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for the environment Julian German said: "The Mineral Tramways Heritage Project is responsible for the careful conservation of a number of important mining sites in the area, boosting the number of heritage sites and shafts that have already been made safe, so that they can be enjoyed by future generations."
Thirteen mining villages within the project area have also had improvements made to them and new interpretation panels will help bring to life the exciting story of an area that sparked pioneering developments and was once the richest in the country.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for health and well being Neil Burden said: "Whether you are a walker, cyclist or horse-rider, the expanded network will offer a wealth of opportunities to exercise both mind and body. Being mainly traffic-free, the network will offer improved and safer access to schools, places of work, local facilities, historic settlements and visitor attractions."
Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Convergence Partnership Office explained the role that the Objective One Programme had played in this exciting project: "The Objective One Programme investment of £1.6 million in the mineral tramways project has both helped conserve these key features of our mining history - part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site - and provide the environment for a new set of business opportunities based the on important leisure and tourist economy."