Tamar Valley AONB

Sense of Place Strategy

Countryscape developed a Sense of Place Strategy for the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB): a protected landscape in the southwest of England, famous for its industrial heritage (for which it was awarded World Heritage Status in 2006).

The aim of the strategy was to use an understanding of the area’s ‘sense of place’ to redevelop its tourism offer and create a new destination brand for the AONB – enabling it to capitalise on the area’s unique attractions and better compete with other neighbouring destinations.

The project took a bottom-up approach, involving extensive consultation with local communities, visitors, artists and tourism businesses to identify what people value and enjoy most about the area. The consultation was undertaken jointly with Pathways Consultancy using a range of engaging tools and techniques, including:

  • A sense of place consultation toolkit: a decorated box containing a variety of self-led exercises, such as a ‘DIY’ tourism map and postcard, colour swatches (for exploring seasonal colours using textured fabrics) and a story book in which participants recorded their own personal memories and experiences.
  • A series of workshops targeting tourism businesses, local artists and craftspeople.
  • A series of ‘sense of place stalls’, which were hosted in public spaces and at fairs and festivals throughout the summer.
  • Face-to-face interviews with passengers on the Tamar Valley railway line, a key tourist route into the AONB from the nearby city of Plymouth.

Information gathered during the consultation was used to produce a detailed description of the area’s sense of place (as perceived by local people and visitors), together with recommendations and a draft action plan for repositioning the AONB’s destination brand and ensuring a unified approach to promoting the area.

For more information about the Tamar Valley AONB visit www.tamarvalley.org.uk