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Creating a Walk – The Tamara Way

Interview: Behind the Scenes of Creating a New Walk for Encounter Walking Holidays with Company Director, Damon Willcox.

Q: Tell us about how you decide on which walks to add to Encounter Walking’s list?

A: As a team, we regularly discuss new routes that catch our interest, and the Tamara Way came up because it received some media attention. Ideally, we’d love to offer walks anywhere, but we must consider practicalities first. We look at whether there’s suitable accommodation along the route, if we can arrange luggage transfers, and whether there’s a guidebook available for walkers. Sometimes as in this case its our regular customers that are pushing us for a holiday option on a new route and of course if we can oblige we will!

Q: And with the Tamara Way, how well did that fit in?

A: Accommodation was indeed a bit tricky since the Tamara Way is in a remote part of Cornwall we hadn’t used before. However, we identified areas where people could spend two nights if needed and noted that there’s a train service for convenient access. Fortunately, the Tamara Way is part of a European funding project and has a brand-new guidebook specifically for it. We also collaborate with a local company for luggage transfers, and they agreed to handle them for this route, making the Tamara Way a viable option for us.

Q: Once you select a walk to work on, what’s next?

A: The big task is locating accommodation. We have several methods for this, including on-the-ground scouting and online research. Once we identify where people can stay, we piece together the route and accommodation overnight locations. All of this is done before we decide to walk the route ourselves because there’s no point if we can’t provide a workable holiday experience.

Q: What publications support this walk?

A: We have a new, dedicated guidebook produced specifically for the Tamara Way, thanks to the European funding project. As well as bespoke maps through a local publications company.

Q: Is this a route you would recommend for dog owners?

A: Most of our walks are suitable for dogs, though it does limit accommodation options. The Tamara Way would suit solo travellers, couples, and small groups ideally.

Q: What time of year is best to walk this route?

A: From spring onwards, the walk is perfect, as well as in autumn, offering stunning scenery and colours in the woodland areas of the walk.

Q: What are the highlights of this walk?

A: Walking in early spring much of the route was stunning, with woodlands full of wildflowers. The gorge sections are particularly enjoyable walking, even though I live only 20 miles away and hadn’t realised their beauty. The iconic viaduct at Calstock and the walkway across Lopwell Dam were highlights. I was also surprised by the old mining remains and, whilst no surprise, loved revisiting the immense cliffs and coves on the coast near Morwenstow. While the long day on the back lanes is one to slog through, passing through the rolling Devon countryside was more enjoyable than expected.

Q: How do you promote the walk to your walking community?

A: We promote new walks like the Tamara Way through email marketing to both existing and new customers, as well as via social media. We also follow up on any enquiries about the route, in which we’ve had quite a lot of interest already.

Q: Can this walk be combined with other routes?

A: Absolutely! For those seeking a longer adventure, you can combine the Tamara Way with the entire Cornish coast path from Bude, around Land's End, back to Plymouth, and then do the Tamara Way to complete the ‘Cornish Circuit’ called ‘Kylgh Kernow’ in Cornish, which is a total of 387 miles.  A few weeks walking to work at there!

For shorter trips, walkers can start with the Tamara Way and then head down the coast path to Newquay, passing places like Boscastle and Tintagel, or start in Falmouth and walk through areas like Mevagissey. This combination allows for an awe-inspiring mix of coastal and inland scenery over a 2-week holiday and is a popular concept for seeing and walking “a bit of everything”.

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