10 cycle trails in Cornwall
It’s finally spring and temperatures may just peak double figures this weekend (yippee!). Break out the sunnies! The family bike trip is ON.
The Camel Trail, Wadebridge to Padstow (5 miles each way)
One of the best known stretches of cycle trail is this old railway line – our favourite is to park in Wadebridge and cycle towards Padstow along the River Camel – not just beautiful but this part is largely flat so it makes it very suitable for a family ride. Plenty of benches along the way so you can make it as long or short as you like – if you time it right you can arrive in Padstow for lunch and then head back to Wadebridge suitably full of fish and chips.
Pentewan Valley Trail, Nr St Austell (3.4 miles one way)
Another old railway line suitable for all sorts of wheels (as well as on foot) this time the old Pentewan railway line between St Austell and Pentewan. Start in St Austell and cycle to the beach. Map here.
Bissoe Trail (short version)
The full trail is 11 miles long going from coast to coast, but if you park near the Bissoe Bike Hire Cafe (serving up takeaway coffee but not bike hire at the moment) you can make the most of the toddler friendly flat path for as long or as little as you like before turning back and heading for the car.
Coast to Coast Trail (11 miles)
The full trail starts at Portreath on the north coast, to Devoran on the south. The route goes from the Atlantic to the channel, so you’re basically cycling across England in a couple of hours! One for the teens.
Great Flat Lode Trail (7.5 miles, circular)
Mostly flat with some occasional steep sections, this mostly off-road trail takes you through a mixture of farmland, heathland and forms part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site.
The Clay Trails, St Austell
Known as Cornwall’s Alps, The Clay Trails wind their way through the unique landscape of Cornwall’s china clay mining area, offering an insight into both the past and present of an industry which has shaped the area since the Industrial Revolution. The cycle trails also form part of the National Cycle Network (see below) with a route for everyone, from littlies to the serious cyclists who want to beat their Strava sections on the hill climbs.
Not so much a family outing perhaps, but worth noting that you can actually cycle all the way from Land’s End to Bude on the National Cycle Route No 3 (also known as the Cornish Way).
Taking you through Mousehole, Penzance and Marazion and Truro you can take either the north or south split. Route 3 heads south, giving you a short break as you cross the River Fal on the King Harry Ferry before joining The Clay Trail above to take you past Mevagissey, St. Austell and the Eden Project on up to the north coast.
Lanhydrock, near Bodmin
The ancient woodlands of the National Trust’s Lanhydrock Estate are very popular with mountain bikers, but the paths round the estate make for a nice gentle cycle/ walk / scoot with the kids too.
Fancy something a little more adventurous? Not only are there red and blue graded trails but a skills area and balance bike track, where you can practice your skills over rollers & jumps, banked corners and drops. Cycle hire opens again on 29 March – and the cafe is already open for takeaways.
Cardinham Woods, near Bodmin
The woodland trails at Cardinham include the 12km cycle trail known as the Bodmin Beast which sounds much less fun than a cake at the Muddy-award winning Woods Cafe, now open for takeaway.
Old Hill Bike Park near Wadebridge
Not so much a trail as a maze of wheeled obstacle courses! You’ll need to have got all the kit in advance (helmets with face protection are mandatory, body armour recommended) – book in for a half or full day’s riding and try out jumps, ramps and drops along miles of graded tracks in what looks like off-road biking heaven (opens end of March). Top tip – walk the black route first!