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River Tamar: Map

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The Tamar ( ) is a river in South West England, that forms most of the border between Devonmarker (to the east) and Cornwallmarker (to the west). At its mouth, the Tamar flows into the Hamoazemarker where it joins with the River Lynhermarker before entering Plymouth Soundmarker. The river has some 20 road crossings, including some medieval stone bridges, and the Tamar Bridgemarker, a toll bridge on the A38 trunk road and the Royal Albert Bridge (1859), the first crossing of the lower Tamar, both are between Saltashmarker (known as the Gateway to Cornwall) and Plymouth. One of the important road crossings of the Tamar is near Lawhitton at Greystone Bridge: the arched stone bridge was built in 1439.

The Tamar's source is less than 6 km (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. The east bank of the Tamar was fixed as the border of Cornwall by King Athelstan in the year 936.

In a few places the border deviates from the river, leaving, for instance, the Devon village of Bridgerulemarker 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 Launcestonmarker which are west of the Tamar were actually in Devon until the 1960s.

Tamar Valley AONB

The Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covers around 195 kmĀ² (75 square miles) around the lower Tamar (below Launceston) and its tributaries the Tavymarker and the Lynhermarker. It was first proposed in 1963, but was not designated until 1995. Rocks around the edge of Dartmoormarker were mineralised by fluids driven by the heat, which gave rise to ores containing tin, copper, tungsten, lead and other minerals in the Valley.During the industrial revolution the Tamar was an important river for shipping copper from ports such as Morwellham Quaymarker and New Quay marker to south Wales where it would be smelted.

Tributaries

Tributaries of the river include the rivers Inny, Ottery, Kensey and St Germans or Lynher on the Cornish side, and the Deer and Tavy on the Devon side.

Folklore

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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