The Calstock Viaduct is an iconic landmark that offers breathtaking views and a glimpse into the engineering prowess of the early 20th century. Spanning the River Tamar, this 12-arch structure rises 120 feet above the water, providing panoramic vistas of the lush Tamar Valley and the charming village of Calstock nestled on its banks.

The viaduct was constructed between 1904 and 1907 to facilitate the expansion of the East Cornwall Mineral Railway into the broader network of the Great Western Railway. Its primary purpose was to transport minerals, particularly arsenic and tin, from the mines in Devon and Cornwall to wider markets. The construction employed pioneering techniques for its time, using concrete blocks instead of the more common brick or stone, showcasing the innovation of early 20th-century engineering.

An intriguing aspect of the viaduct is its use of concrete blocks, a relatively novel material at the time, which not only reduced costs but also sped up the construction process. The blocks were manufactured on-site using locally sourced materials, a practice that was both economical and efficient.

Walking or taking a train ride across the viaduct offers stunning views of the River Tamar, the surrounding woodlands, and the rolling hills of the Tamar Valley. The picturesque landscape changes with the seasons, making each visit a unique experience. In spring and summer, the valley is a verdant tapestry of greens, while autumn brings a riot of reds and golds.

At one end of the viaduct lies the village of Calstock, with its quaint cottages, vibrant community, and historical landmarks such as St. Andrew’s Church. The churchyard provides another vantage point for admiring the viaduct and the valley below. Additionally, the Calstock Arts Centre, housed in a converted chapel, offers cultural enrichment with regular events and exhibitions.

One lesser-known fact about the Calstock Viaduct is that it was one of the first major structures in Britain to use reinforced concrete. This innovative approach not only exemplified modern engineering practices of the era but also ensured the viaduct’s durability, allowing it to remain a functional and scenic landmark over a century later.

The Calstock Viaduct stands as a testament to the area’s industrial heritage, offering both historical insights and stunning natural beauty to all who visit.

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