Before the Camel River widens and stretches on its journey to meet the sea, you will find the popular town of Wadebridge.
Originally known as Wade, Wadebridge sits 5 miles upstream of Padstow and straddles the river, with the town centre itself sitting on the river’s left bank. A thriving hub with lots of local businesses and trade, Wadebridge has lots to offer and attracts great throngs of visitors in the summer months.
With origins dating back hundreds of years, the town originally had a bit of a dangerous reputation, used as a river crossing point. Until an official structure was built, “wade” was quite literally what people had to do – a sometimes-perilous feat, especially in winter. Fortunately, this was solved in the 15th century with the construction of a bridge. In fact, this was such a momentous moment in the town’s history that it led to its name becoming what it is today: Wadebridge.
Once well-known for its wool production, Wadebridge is now particularly popular amongst sports enthusiasts and nature-lovers. Surrounded by beaches beautiful enough to make California jealous and a base for the 18-mile long Camel Trail, it invites locals and visitors alike to continually enjoy its wealth of natural beauty. Whether you are an avid walker, leisurely stroller or a bit of an adrenaline junkie, there is something on offer for everyone to find their favourite pace and activity.
Whatever your sport though, if you are going to spend any time in Wadebridge, it’d be criminal not to check out the Camel Trail. Originally opened in 1834 as the Wadebridge and Bodmin Railway Line, it used to carry the first steam trains in Cornwall. Decommissioned in 1967, the trail now provides walkers and cyclists with miles of mostly traffic-free tarmac for an unparalleled escape. Explore the trail on foot or hire a bike and whizz along, taking in the jaw-dropping views as you go.
Once you’re done, reward yourself with a bite to eat. Boasting plenty of picnic-perfect beauty spots, you can sit along the river banks, head to the beach or treat yourself to a home-cooked meal in town. If you have time, you should definitely check out the town’s shops too. Home to well-known names, Wadebridge also boasts the highest number of independent shops in the county. Pretty cool if you are looking to pick up something unique as a souvenir or gift.
Beautiful whatever the weather, Wadebridge also hosts events throughout the year so there is always something going on. With plenty to look forward to, the events cover a range of themes, including the MayPlay festival for kids, June’s Beer Festival, August’s Cornwall Folk Festival and September’s Camel River Festival.