Pedals and Panoramas: Cycling in Cornwall.
During the coronavirus lockdown, many of us have made the most of quieter roads and rekindled a love of bike riding. An easy, fun way to cover lots of ground and get a different perspective on areas we love, cycling allows us to stay fit, boost endorphins and really see the countryside.
That said, with the lockdown restrictions easing and roads getting busier again, attention is now turning to safer, quieter, designated trails for a bicycle fix. Fortunately, in Cornwall we are spoilt with numerous superb bike trails that cover all manner of terrain.
With something for all abilities and boasting diverse scenery, here are some of the best bike trails in Cornwall, perfect for all bike-lovers wanting to make the most of time on their wheels:
Cardinham Woods is recognised as one of the best places to go in Cornwall for bike riding. A mass of cycle trails weaving around the woods, the routes here have something for all abilities, from the relatively easy 12-mile Bodmin Beast route suitable for intermediate bikers all the way to the difficult ‘red’ routes, Hell’s Teeth & Dialled-in Dave, for maestros only!
The 7-mile multiuse trail at Goss Moor takes bikers on a tranquil ride through a 480-hectare National Nature Reserve. Boasting flat, gentle gradients on smooth surfaces, Goss Moor is a perfect option for those with youngsters in tow or for those who are still building confidence on two wheels.
Home to green, blue and red bike trails, Lanhydrock has everything you could need for a great bike ride. Beginning with the easiest trail, the 1.5 mile-Lodge Trail, and finishing up with the red-level Saw Pit and a designated skills area, bikers can work their way up and challenge their abilities. One of the best trails for its amenities too, Lanhydrock offers cycle hire, a café, adventure playground, toilets and a visitor reception.
Although not technically a designated trail, this incredibly scenic route follows the coast between Marazion and Mousehole and is well worth considering. With your shoulder to the sea, you will cycle along flat, even road for 7 miles, lapping up beautiful views of Mount’s Bay, St Michael’s Mount and golden-sand beaches. With an abundance of shops and cafés along the way, there will also be ample opportunity for refreshment too.
Flowing around the Penrose Estate by bike is an absolute pleasure. Starting in the car park in Helston, you can whip around the estate, following its thread of tarmacked cycle paths and tracing its mirror-like lake, before popping out at the coast at Loe Bar and even carrying on to Porthleven if you like!
In Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Tamar Trail’s 15 miles of cycle trails will appeal to all. With dedicated off-road mountain biking trails, cycle hire facilities and year-round availability, it is the ideal place to let off steam with an energetic spin or leisurely free-wheel. For families, we would recommend the Mineral Railway Trail, or for more experienced bikers, the Wheal Maria Trail is sure to entice.
Home to a huge number of multiuse paths, the Clay Trails in mid-Cornwall should be on every biker’s list. Benefitting from mostly traffic-free routes that crisscross through a patchwork of farmland, woodland, traditional fishing villages and mining villages, you will enjoy both an historic and aesthetic journey through China Clay country. As you go, keep your eyes peeled for sculptures, wildlife and perhaps most intriguing – turquoise-coloured dams.
Nearest to our luxury cottages in Padstow, the Camel Trail is one of Cornwall’s most famous bike trails. Stretching from Padstow to Wenfordbridge, you can spin along 18 miles of virtually level surfaces, all the while taking in roll after roll of breath-taking scenery. Go for a small section or complete the whole run, before putting your feet up in your retreat with a well-earned drink!
Cycle across Cornwall along the superb Coast to Coast cycle trail. Spanning 11 miles, the route commences in the coastal village of Portreath and ends in the Creekside village of Devoran. Pushing along mostly purpose-built cycle paths, you will pass through beautiful woodland and the Poldice Valley, and cycle alongside the picturesque Restronguet Creek.
A 7.5 mile-circular route around Carn Brea hill, the Great Flat Lode trail follows the old Bassett Mine tramway, once used to carry tin ore from nearby mines to Wheal Bassett Stamps for processing. Requiring a little bit of leg pumping heading up and down hilly sections, the pay-off will be worth it as you enjoy peaceful, mostly off-road trails and incredible views.