Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Management Plan 2011 - 2016
11 Rame Head
Rame Head is the headland peninsula at the mouth of Plymouth Sound on the Cornwall side, taking in Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park, Penlee Point and Rame Head.
Approximately 800 hectares or just over 3 square miles, forming just under 1% of the Cornwall AONB.
Statement of Significance
Known as ‘Cornwall’s forgotten corner’, the area’s rocky shore is punctuated by popular sandy beaches at Kingsand and Cawsand and the surrounding steeply sloping cliffs blend with a ridge that stretches far inland. The distinctive rounded landmark of Rame Head is almost severed from the main peninsula by the steep slopes of a winding narrow valley at its rear.
From the exposed cliffs, the ridge top and Rame
Head, the panoramic views take in the coast,
the busy shipping lanes of the English Channel,
the complex of estuarial features of the Tamar Valley
and the vast urban expanse of the city of Plymouth
with its cranes and naval shipyards seen across the
broad waters of Plymouth Sound. By contrast the
valley behind Rame Head is sheltered and in parts
secluded providing at the coast an intimate and
enclosed setting for Cawsand.
The sense of open exposure at Penlee Point is
exaggerated by large rectilinear fields on land
recently enclosed from former coastal rough ground. Elsewhere the medium sized irregular fields of medieval origin are interspersed with some that have been recently enlarged by hedge removal for agricultural improvements. The mixture of green pastures and changing crops on arable fields adds seasonal variation in colour and texture. The hedges are low and clothed in rough vegetation with occasional windswept scrubby trees and bushes.
The Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park
with its large historic house, numerous outbuildings,
deer park and extensive ornamental landscapes
with many ridge top mature trees occupies a
significant proportion of the AONB and its coastline.
Outside of the managed landscape of Mount
Edgcumbe the steeply sloping cliffs gain a rugged
wildness from their mixed heathland and rough
vegetation and whilst the agricultural landscape
of the inland ridge is almost without trees there
is woodland at the comparatively sheltered coast
between Cawsand and Penlee Point.
Geologically there is considerable interest here.
The beach at Cawsand is formed of rhyolite,
the only know surviving remains of the volcanic material that erupted above Cornwall’s intruded granites some 270 to 290 million years ago and the red sandstone further north is the only evidence in Cornwall of the ensuing desert conditions.
The only significant concentration of settlement is
at Kingsand and Cawsand. The two villages are
surrounded by mature trees and separated only by
a small headland on which sits Cawsand Fort, built
of stone in the 1860s and recently converted to
flats. These typical small fishing villages are tightly
clustered around the two beaches that still provide
landing points for small craft adding vitality and
interest. The buildings are varied in form but united
by their tight relationship to the narrow streets that run at right angles away from the sea. Kingsand is the larger of the two villages. The variety of building materials reflect the varied local geology including rhyolite (a purple volcanic stone), red sandstone, and slatestone along with slate hanging, painted render and some brick. A prominent feature in both villages is the many local stone rubble built boundary walls. Until boundary changes in 1844 Kingsand was in Devon however Cawsand was always in Cornwall. A small stream marked the border. Rame is a small hamlet. The Country House and outbuildings of Mount Edgcumbe dominate the north of this section of the Cornwall AONB. Elsewhere this otherwise quiet landscape is typified by sparse settlement of farms and cottages linked by mostly small winding rural roads.
The conical form of Rame Head, with its medieval chapel on top, forms a prominent landmark with a widely visible and distinctive silhouette. The strategic position of Rame Head overlooking Plymouth sound is evidenced by the frequency of visible military fortifications in particular from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
• Maker with Rame Parish Plan has been prepared.
• The 800 acre Mount Edgcumbe estate is jointly owned and managed by Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council.
• The business plan for Mount Edgcumbe includes expansion of employment, facilities and increased visitor numbers.
• Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) now also covers some parkland grassland and historic features in the Mount Edgcumbe estate.
• The ‘Joint Committee’ guides management of some non Mount Edgcumbe estate areas including for example Rame Head car park.
• The Plymouth Green Infrastructure Strategy includes access to Mount Edgcumbe and the Rame Peninsula.
• The Tamar Estuaries Consultative Forum is the estuary management partnership which coordinates all activities on the water and promotes integrated management through the agreed Management Plan.
• The Tamar Ferry and Reconnecting Rame were proposed as initiatives toward seeking improved transport links for the peninsula.
• Pony grazing of coastal rough ground is used in places to control scrub.
• Biodiversity Action Plan targets include habitat enhancement for farm birds and all of the coast.
• The waters of Plymouth Sound and Estuaries is designated as a European Marine Site being both a Special Area of Conservation and Special Protection Area. The designation protects the key marine habitats including the large shallow inlets and bays, estuaries and sandbanks covered by seawater all the time as well as much of the wildlife that the area supports.
• Some modern buildings are not sympathetic to the character of Kingsand and Cawsand.
• The design of Kingsand and Cawsand public car parks could be more sympathetic to their setting.
• The narrow streets of Kingsand and Cawsand in particular can become congested with visitor’s cars.
• Small and narrow roads around the Rame
peninsula can become congested by visitors
arriving by car.
• Overhead wirescape is intrusive for example in Kingsand and Cawsand.
• Much of the AONB and the South West Coast Path is in the Mount Edgcumbe Estate and hence is well maintained.
• Some coastal rough ground is subject to increasing scrub encroachment.
• Removal of Cornish hedges for agricultural efficiency has fragmented some wildlife corridors and the pattern of the landscape.
• In parts of this section there was significant loss to disease of hedgerow elm trees with impact on habitat connectivity and landscape character.
Rame Head - Guiding Principles
It is intended that these local guiding principles will support the actions of the AONB Partnership and other stakeholders and that their actions will be informed by them. Note: Some local issues may be addressed by strategic policies.
|GP11.1||Support local employment and affordable housing development in settlements with access to employment and local services, such as Kingsand and Cawsand, provided that by location and design this fully respects historic settlement pattern, local vernacular in design and use of materials and conserves and enhances the AONB.|
|GP11.2||Support the development of innovative sustainable transport links to and from the Rame Peninsula. This should include car free optionsbuilding on its location at the mouth of the Tamar Estuary, particularly seeking opportunities to develop sustainable water transport and should consider landscape and visual impacts and be designed and implemented in a manner that conserves and enhances the AONB.|
|GP11.3||Support improvement of non car access between settlements and the South West Coast Path.|
|GP11.4||Support measures to increase visitor
numbers and employment opportunities at the
Mount Edgcumbe Estate provided that the character
of the Rame Peninsula is conserved and enhanced and its environment protected.
|GP11.5||Support local community aspirations for
undergrounding of overhead cables in villages such
as at Kingsand and Cawsand in order to reduce
|GP11.6||Support the celebration and interpretation
of the extensive and wide ranging military history
of this area in ways which aid awareness and
understanding of the role of the Rame Peninsula as a fortification at the mouth of the Tamar but do not erode the tranquillity of the area.
|GP11.7||Support the integrated management and partnership action of the Tamar Estuaries Consultative Forum in ensuring long term sustainability in the management of the waters of Plymouth Sound and the Tamar Estuaries.|
|GP11.8||Support through a landscape scale approach the appropriate management, extension and linking of locally characteristic habitats. These include coastal heathland, farm hedges, parkland and broadleaved native inland and coastal woodland.|
|GP11.9||Encourage the management of hedges
to allow elm and other hedge tree regeneration
or, where appropriate, planting of native or
locally naturalised tree species on hedges in
order to restore landscape character following
the impacts of Dutch Elm disease, including raising awareness that such local hedges were previously considerably more treed.