10 cycle trails to try
Get out and explore Cornwall’s amazing cycling and walking routes while discovering wildlife, heritage and parts of Cornwall you never knew existed.
For keen mountain bikers
The Bodmin Beast cycle trail
This 12km cycle trail explores the slopes of the Cardinham Valley and as the name suggests, it calls for more than a little skill and courage. Setting the benchmark for singletrack trails in Cornwall the Bodmin Beast has keen mountain bikers and experienced off-roaders in its sights and those up to the challenge will face exhilarating climbs and descents, exciting technical tests and exposed snaking trails. But fear not, for those that like to take things at a more leisurely pace Cardinham Woods also offers plenty of less strenuous trails and of course, there’s always the tempting Woods Café.
For nature lovers
Goss Moor cycle trail
Goss Moor, once a motorist’s nightmare, has been transformed into a cyclists dream. The former bottleneck has become an easy going 12km circular cycle trail which gives access to the Goss Moor National Nature Reserve where an outstanding range of rare plants and animals thrive in abundance. And being mostly flat and off-road, cyclists can concentrate on spotting what’s around them rather than what their feet are doing.
Seaton Valley Countryside Park
A short circular ride or walk around the delightful Seaton Valley Countryside Park on the cornish coast at Seaton, near Looe. The route begins at the parking facilities and takes you on a tour of the park which includes a riverside stretch along the River Seaton, and a coastal stroll by Seaton beach. There is also a sensory garden and a nature reserve with otters, kingfishers, dormice and butterflies.
The Clay Trails
Discover these 5 quiet pathways around St Austell and enjoy the beauty and sense of peace they offer. Cornwall's miles of scenic clay trails were first opened in March 2005 and new trails have continued to be made available, enabling visitors to enjoy this unique area of Cornwall. The striking and dramatic scenery here is visible from distances of many miles and has been made more accessible by the development of trails for walking, cycling and horse riding. This area has been transformed by tree-planting and careful environmental management creating a haven for wildlife - look out for the sight of deer grazing.
The Great Flat Lode
In the historic Camborne – Redruth mining district, cycle rides come with a generous side helping of Cornish heritage. The circular 12km Great Flat Lode cycle trail forms part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site and takes its name from a ‘lode’ of tin which was discovered lying at an angle of 30 degrees (rather than the typical 70 degrees). The landscape here is littered with relics from Cornwall’s heyday and cyclists will discover some of the finest remains of engine houses. De-saddle to visit what’s left of Cornwall’s last tin smelter at Carnkie or climb Carn Brea for superb panoramic views which take in South Wheal Crofty, Cornwall’s last working tin mine.
Another of the Mineral Tramways trails, this runs from Portreath on the north Cornwall coast to the former port of Devoran between Truro and Falmouth. Running for 14 miles along a mainly traffic free, mixed surface, cycle trail, it follows the route of The Portreath Tramroad and the Redruth and Chasewater railway line, both built to transport goods in and out of Cornwall's industrial heartland during the 1800s. It's not the flattest trail in the world, but the scenery makes up for the hills.
The Camel Trail
Families flock to the Camel Trail for its easy going, off-road credentials. Following a former railway line it means there are no inclines – the whole 18 miles is just lovely and flat, perfect for those that have recently mastered two wheels or for grown-ups carrying precious loads. And the best bit about this route is that it stretches from Wenfordbridge near Bodmin, to the foodie heaven of Padstow, so great for refuelling the family.
National Trust, Lanhydrock Bike Trail
This fantastic bike trail offers a variety of trails for all abilities. The most gentle ride takes you deep into little explored woodland on the estate. Suitable for families and beginners the trail is wide, well surfaced and has no challenging technical features. This trail is also suitable for trailers, tagalongs and disability bikes. If the kids have any energy left after their bike ride they can blow off even more steam in the new adventure playground which is located near the Park Café and the car park.
The Tamar Trails Centre is the starting point for exploring 25km of trails through the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site. Explore the remains of old mines or jump off your bike and try your hand at one of the trail activities. Swap two wheels for a paddle and see the Tamar Valley from the water with a canoe session or channel your inner monkey by swinging from the tree tops with ‘Tree Surfers’.
The Big One!
You can cycle from Land’s End all the way to Bude on the National Cycle Route No 3 (also known as the Cornish Way). Starting off with visits to Mousehole, Penzance and Marazion, the route then heads through Cornwall’s industrial heartland to arrive in Truro. Here the route splits and Route 3 forms the southern option, crossing the River Fal on the King Harry Ferry and taking in Mevagissey, St. Austell and the Eden Project.
The other option is to head to Newquay and onto Padstow where you pick up the Camel Trial to Bodmin where the two routes convene. The Cornish Way then climbs up onto Bodmin Moor, passes Camelford and hits the coast for the final stretch into Bude.
Have you tried any of these bike trails? Share with us on Facebook and tell us how you got on, or suggest some favourite cycle routes of your own in Cornwall using the space below: