The River Tame is the largest tributary of the River Trent and the main river in the West Midlands, approximately 100 km in length from its source at Oldbury, to its confluence with the Trent near Alrewas. The Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme focuses on a 104 km² area of the landscape surrounding 29 km of the River Tame, between Castle Vale in Birmingham (to the south-west) and Hopwas in Tamworth (to the north-west), in North Warwickshire and south-east Staffordshire.
Spanning across three county boundaries and three National Character Areas, the landscape of this scheme – the Tame Valley Wetlands – has its own, unique feel. Wildlife and humans alike have been drawn to the life-giving properties of the valley for centuries; the plentiful resources of fresh water, fertile soils and rich mineral deposits have all played a role in shaping the landscape we see today – one heavily influenced by human activity.
The transport routes that dominate the landscape, whether the busy roads, rail links or canals; the historic structures and remnant World War II pill boxes that still stand defiantly; and the farmed countryside and old gravel extraction pits, have all transformed this area of the Tame Valley. Whilst some of these anthropogenic activities have helped enhance the landscape – the now tranquil canals and the wetlands formed from old extraction sites – many activities have, and still are, creating a degraded and fragmented landscape both for people and wildlife. Yet despite all this activity, the Tame Valley is often forgotten and neglected – it is a hidden landscape.
With this in mind, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust set up the Tame Valley Wetlands Partnership in 2005 with the vision of creating a wetland landscape, rich in wildlife and accessible to all.
The partnership has gone from strength to strength, bringing us up to the present day, and the creation of this Landscape Conservation Action Plan (LCAP). This document has been inspired and molded by local communities and organisations; it is the partnership’s narrative and mandate for the landscape, which will be achieved through this Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme (TVWLPS).
The TVWLPS will work towards the partnership’s overarching vision – working together to deliver a wide range of programmes and projects. Built and natural heritage will be conserved and restored, both physical and intellectual access will be improved, and local people will have the opportunity to learn new skills and explore new paths in life and in the landscape. Local people will be enthused and inspired, and the landscape will no longer be hidden.
The TVWLPS will work with national, regional and local strategies in mind, and work closely with local people and local and national organisations, in order to deliver real outcomes that will make a positive and lasting difference to the lives of local people and the landscape and its heritage.
The landscape of the Tame Valley has seen many changes over time and its story is full of interest and inspiration – we are about to start the next chapter of this exciting story…
…discover the Tame Valley.
(an extract from the TVWLPS LCAP document, pages 8-9).