FIVE IN NORTH CORNWALL
It’s no secret that Cornwall is a smörgåsbord of things to do and places to go, and I for one am a cultural all-you-can-eater. As Cornish geo-bucket lists go, the north of the county offers up a cornucopia of coastal, woodland and valley destinations. Here are five of the best, which are dog friendly and won’t cost you a penny.
Arthurian tales associated with Tintagel are legendary, and Rocky Valley, which sits just outside the parish at Bossiney, is certainly somewhere to write home about. This National Trust owned trail plunges you into a Medieval-esque canyon, which is a tapestry of woodland, grassy hills and jagged clefts. Passing its waterfall, follow the river through the valley where it opens out to a secluded bay.
It’s a moderate walk, with plenty of pit-stop points along the way to take in the dramatic scenery (“very Lord of the Rings” my sister says). A layby opposite the entrance offers free parking.
“If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise”… For at Cardinham Woods, there are trails aplenty for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. Tucked away just outside Bodmin, the woods are managed by the Forestry Commission, with off-road routes for mountain biking, and four way-marked trails for walkers.
Looking to blow out the cobwebs? I’d recommend Lidcutt Valley Walk, a 3.5 mile loop which leads you onwards and upwards to the side of the valley. It’s quite taxing at points, but the views are astounding, with nothing but treetops as far as the eye can see.
You’re welcome to bring along your own picnic, or you can refuel at Woods Café which offers a selection of light bites, ice creams and drinks (mine’s a Cornish cream tea – cream on top, of course!)
The site also includes toilet facilities, play area and a large car park.
If you’re scouting for a slice of historic Cornwall, Roche Rock located near St Austell has oodles of rustic appeal. A fifteenth century chapel sits at the top of a granite outcrop, which is accessible by a steep ladder (best to leave your four legged friend at the bottom).
From the top, you can take in the Clay Country’s industrial character, a side of Cornwall you may not have seen before.
With just under 18 miles of scenic pathway, the Camel Trail is a must for anyone wanting to stretch their legs through Cornwall’s spectacular coast, woodland and countryside. Formerly a railway line connecting Wadebridge, Padstow and Bodmin, the trail is virtually flat and another hotspot for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
Free from traffic, the Camel Trail is quintessentially Cornish and really rather lovely.
Topping my north Cornwall coastal chart is Watergate Bay. Recently listed in the Telegraph’s top 20 beaches in Britain, Watergate Bay is where adrenaline junkies and sun seekers come together along two miles of golden sands.
Set against the dramatic cliffs, hidden caves and hill tops lined with wildflowers, the Bay plays host to a number of events throughout the year, including Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach. If you fancy catching the wind in your sails (quite literally), the Extreme Academy is one of Cornwall’s leading venues for water sports.
Watergate Bay is dog friendly all year round, and with an array of beachfront cafes and restaurants (Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall, The Beach Hut, and Zacry’s at Watergate Bay Hotel to name but a few), you can happily while away the hours here.