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Muddy walks: Cardinham Woods


Cardinham Woods is no secret to anyone living near Bodmin – evident from the fact the cottage pitstop Woods café (In a cottage In a wood yes ha ha…) was rammed on a cold wet Friday in February. But I’d lived near here for more than a year, and not visited yet (I know I know) despite recommendations that I should check it out from just about every one.

For those of you who haven’t been, Cardinham is a beautiful mixed woodland, popular with local dog walkers, cyclists, and horse riders. The woods are Forestry Commission managed and as you’d expect, accessible to all with clear way marked trails guiding you to stunning viewpoints and ensuring you don’t get lost.

Getting there is ‘interesting’ – there’s an uneasy 50m stretch of road as you approach which removes all responsibility if anything should happen to you whilst driving along that section – not quite ‘welcome to hell’, but certainly ‘abandon all hope’.

The facilities are everything you’d expect from an FC managed site – lots of parking and well maintained toilets and picnic and barbeque spots.

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While the bigger kids (ie Mr MC and his brother) took to the ‘Beast of Bodmin’ cycle trail, the rest of our group (which included toddlers, and an arthritic aunt) followed the purple route waymarker and strolled the Lady Vale Walk following the river upstream to Lady Vale Bridge– a very gentle picturesque 3k, suitable for pushchairs, wheelchairs, little legs and arthritic aunts. Download the route here.

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After that fresh air, we were ready to refuel at the award winning Woods Café – the indoor/ outdoor indie café based in a gorgeous and typically Cornish cottage. As you’d expect, delicious, home made food using fresh and local ingredients. The menu is small but the specials change regularly and not your typical twee cream tea affair. Naturally, they do-do cakes and scones and you’ll want to try the hot chocolate.

woods cafe food

Pulled pork ciabatta and a sausage doorstop for lunch

Fancy actually staying in the cottage in the wood? – ta da! you can rent the newly refurbished two holiday flat above the café. Perfect for families, people who love the woods, people who love cake… The accommodation has a twin and a kingsize, small but well equiped kitchen, lounge, bathroom and outside seating area.

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Younger kids will enjoy the Julia Donaldson/Axel Scheffler licenced Stick man activity trail  – buy an activity pack from the café for £3 and get the trail leaflet, activity sheets, pencil, crayon and pipe cleaners to make your Stick Man.

OS Grid Reference: SX100667

Cardinham Woods, Bodmin, PL30 4AL

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Cornwall