The Atlantic Ocean stretching farther and wide, the mesmerising landscapes and gorgeous towns to explore- all packed in a typical visit to Cornwall!
On a typical Cornish vacation, you can expect all of these and more. Of course, it would be folly to miss any of these in a fast-moving vehicle. After all, Cornwall is best explored when traversing its lands at your own pace.
And what better way to do so than to use a bicycle! Bicycles are slow enough not to zoom past the immaculate terrain of the county while being faster and less tiring than traversing on foot. Naturally, the vehicle makes for a fantastic way to embark on a journey across the county.
Furthermore, the Cornish peninsula is extremely friendly to cyclists, featuring several cycle trails for the whole family to enjoy. These traffic-free cycle routes are easy to ride through, making the long-distance ride a breeze.
So, here are some of the best cycle trails in Cornwall!
8 Best Cycling Routes In Cornwall
1. The Goss Moor Trail
The Goss Moor trail takes you through the peaceful countryside, giving you a chance to observe rare flora and fauna species native to the county. This is a trail that stretches across 7 miles of the Goss Moor National Nature Reserve.
Popular amongst cyclists, horse riders, and walkers, the trail is mostly flat and free of traffic, making it safe for riders of all ages. Should you need a breather, you will also have access to multiple car parks along the way.
Although it is slightly away from the main path, it provides a gentle route for kids who have yet to build their riding confidence. With sights that demand your attention along the way, the Goss Moor trail makes for a soothing traversal path. Feel free to use the linking routes to reach other moors!
2. The Camel Trail
One of the most well-known cycling trails in Cornwall, the Camel Trail connects Padstow to Bodmin Moor. It leads through Wadebridge along the way and is mostly flat, making it ideal for all kinds of cyclists.
Being an 18-mile-long stretch, the Camel trail offers a traffic-free riding experience as it takes you along a disused railway line. While on the bike, you will be following the banks of the Camel Estuary.
Also present adjacent to the path are mudflats, where you may spot birds wading, making the trail a treat for birdwatchers. And throughout the Camel trail, you can bear witness to the expansive Cornish landscapes, creating a scenic backdrop for your cycling route.
3. The Cornish Way
The Cornish Way is an integral part of the cycling path known as the National Cycle Route that connects Bude and Land’s End. Covering much of the county along the way, the Cornish Way leads you through picturesque fishing villages and intriguing historic towns.
Along the way, you may choose to ride through Padstow on the north coast or St Austell on the south coast. Both sites are worth visiting, so be sure to travel to your heart’s content!
Throughout your journey, you will have the chance to explore Cornwall as never seen before. The areas of outstanding natural beauty along the way keep the ride engaging and exciting throughout the 180-mile stretch.
For experienced cyclists, this coast-to-coast cycle trail can be a great way to challenge yourself and snag the achievement that is completing the ride.
4. The Mineral Tramway Trails
If you prefer off-road cycling in Cornwall, the Mineral Tramway Trails direct you through the mining history of the county. Combining the relatively shorter trails that lead to the Tehidy trail, the Mineral Tramway trails are about 37.5 miles long. These traffic-free cycle paths guide you around the Camborne and Redruth regions, which are broken up into three separate ones.
You will start along the 11-mile-long coast-to-coast trail that connects Portreath and Devoran. After this, you will reach the 7.5-mile-long Great Flat Lode Trail that circles behind Camborne and Redruth. And finally, the Tehidy trail is about 2.5 miles-long that ends within the Tehidy Country Park, one of the best parks for cycling.
While riding through these trails, you can observe and explore engine houses that were once used when the Cornish mining industry was at its peak. The disused mines, countryside views and natural beauty make the trails the ride of a lifetime.
5. Falmouth Cycling Loop
The Falmouth Cycling Loop is a 31-mile-long route used by the regional cycling club during the Audax event. And, being a competitive track, you can expect the ride through it to be exhilarating.
Simultaneously, the loop offers a gorgeous view of the surrounding architecture and farmland, taking you around castles, across villages and through old mining towns. You can also view the Stithians Reservoir, which is a host to the annual agricultural show during the summer.
Once you cross the reservoir, you will be greeted by the mesmerising views of Falmouth and its streets that always seem to be bustling.
6. Penzance Cycling Loop
Be on the lookout for some of the most iconic scenery in all of Cornwall while riding on the Penzance Cycling Loop!
This 43-mile-long loop begins in Penzance, takes you through the Art Deco lido situated at the Newlyn fishing port and then to Mousehole. Next, you will climb up Raginnis Hill and reach its false summit, after which you can follow the NCR 3 to reach Land’s End. And the fun doesn’t stop here!
The easy route will lead you north into the lands punctuated every so often by hills. Ride past the abandoned mines scattered around Boscaswell and Botallack and pedal your way on the coast road between Pendeed and St. Ives. Turn your eyes to the seas and the fishing village, breathe in the fresh aroma of the sea, and feel free to take a break.
Should you wish to return, follow along the Red River valley until you reach the southern coast of Cornwall. Here, you will be greeted by the iconic St. Michael’s Mount and the undulating waters at Marazion. From here, Penzance is just a short distance away.
The Penzance Cycling Loop is a great way to explore some of the most eye-pleasing sights in the county. There is plenty to see along the way, and should you choose to partake in some of the local activities – plenty to do as well.
7. The Bodmin Beast Cycle Trail
The Bodmin Beast Cycle Trail is a short but difficult mountain bike trail primarily meant for off-road cycling. Located in Cardinham Woods, be sure to have proper equipment ready for cycling through this trail!
This 7.4-mile-long trail has difficult climbs, corners, side slopes, and descents with no side slope, requiring plenty of care on your part. Cyclists are expected to pedal through the path at their own pace using mountain bikes designed specifically to tackle such trails. And if you seek a challenge greater than the Bodmin Beast, feel free to ride through the red-grade trail sections.
Get the adrenaline pumping through your veins as you make a steady trek through the Bodmin Beast!
8. The Clay Trails
The Clay Trails are a combination of several smaller traffic-free cycle trails that begin close to St. Austell on the south coast and take you across Cornwall. Witness the gorgeous Cornish landscapes that are dotted with what once were clay pits and spoil heaps!
Your journey on the family-friendly routes begins near Mevagissey on a path known as the Pentewan Trail. This 2.5-mile-long path takes you from Mevagissey to St. Austell, running alongside a rail track that is no longer in use.
From the stunning streets of St. Austell, you may follow along the 2-mile-long Green Corridor to reach Wheal Martyn. And from there, you can cycle across the Wheal Martyn trail until you reach the Eden Project. From the Eden Project, you may either visit the small Cornish town of St. Blazey or the village of Bugle.
Offering plenty of interlinking routes and a low difficulty bar, the Clay Trails can be a perfect set of family-friendly cycle routes. Throughout the bike trails, you will find plenty of distinct and intriguing sites that hint at the history of Cornwall.
Once you’ve reached the end of the ride, consider visiting the Eden Project. Being the world’s largest indoor rainforest, the Eden Project can be a great venue to learn more about plant species native to different countries. It makes for a great pit stop along the Clay Trails, offering sights that are easy on the eyes and a tranquil ambience to boot.
To Sum Up
Whether you fancy a short ride or a lengthy one that takes you across the county, riding a bicycle through Cornwall is a one-of-a-kind experience. With little to no traffic along the way, you can expect a calming and hassle-free traversal experience, which is ideal for a place so mesmerising.
While on the bike trails, remember to pack a few essentials! Cornwall can be quite warm during the summers, which can make travelling on a bike a little testing. Always keep a bottle of water with you and, if need be, someone following along in a car to help out at a moment’s notice.
Explore the English county to your heart’s content, and have fun on your Cornish cycle tours!
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