While working at the Eden Project, Pete Whitbread-Abrutat devised and organised a national workshop to focus on what world class landscape restoration could look like in the context of the regeneration of Cornwall’s 80 km2 china clay mining area (the “Claylands”), in light of the national EcoTowns initiative. The Claylandscape is a mosaic of active, open pit china clay mining operations, mountainous sand and waste rock tips, areas of largely low grade agricultural land and small “Clay Villages” interspersed between these other land-uses. Traditionally the Clay Villages developed largely to support the local mining industry, but in recent decades employment in the industry has declined, although the industry itself remains strong, with few alternative sources of local employment.
National and international experts in this field participated and interacted with local stakeholders at the workshop, hosted by the Eden Project, with multi-national industrial minerals mining group and china clay company Imerys hosting a tour of their local operations and potential environmental, economic and community regeneration sites in the Cornish Claylands. The aim was to broaden perspectives on what could be achieved given the potential opportunities around “blank canvas”, post-mining landscapes.
A short video film of the event and its Claylands context was made, which can be watched from this page.