Monday, 21 September 2015

Best family bike rides in Cornwall

Cornwall boasts some of the most picturesque and varied bike trails in the UK. Pedal your way along rivers and coastline and through woodland and mining heritage sites. There are enough trails to do a different one day of the week (weather permitting of course!). I have recommended some bike rides below, in particular 'traffic free' which are ideal if you have children. And as I am always thinking about my next meal have included great places to eat along the way.
The Camel trail: Wadebridge to Padstow - 5.5 miles
Probably the most popular cycle trail in Cornwall. A nice flat trail following the picturesque Camel Estuary. There are some lovely spots to stop and enjoy a picnic, alternatively grab an award winning Cornish pasty at The Chough bakery or visit Greens Café in Padstow. There are some lovely cafes and coffee shops in Wadebridge too. If you don't have bikes you can hire them at either end of the trail.
The Camel Trail: Bodmin to Wenfordbridge - 6.25 miles
Relatively quieter than the more popular and better known Camel trail between Padstow and Wadebridge, this disused branch line between Bodmin and Wenfordbridge follows the river through tranquil woodland. It is flat all the way and you can park free at Scarletts Well Road in Bodmin. It took us a steady hour (with a tired & wingey 11yr old moaning most of the way due to previous late night) to get to the end of the trail at Wenfordbridge where we stopped for lunch at the delightful Snails Pace cafe.  We were pleased to see that this café is taking a similar approach to ourselves by running a sustainable 'eco' business, complete with compost toilet, solar panels and a bicycle powered smoothie maker! The food did not disappoint either, all freshly homemade and a lovely cream tea. Such a delightful little cafe that I almost want to keep it a secret. 
Pentewan Valley Trail - 3.4 miles
A lovely flat trail from St Austell to Pentewan. Take a bucket & spade, lock your bikes up at Pentewan village and walk to the Hub Box on the Beach for refreshments (they serve fabulous burgers too) and spend some time on the golden sands before heading back or there is the option to leave the traffic free section of the trail at Pentewan and continue on to Mevagissey totalling 8 miles. After leaving St Austell going towards Mevagissey, you can park for free in the laybys and small car parks along the left hand side of the road before London Apprentice.
Mineral Tramways
You can cycle 11 miles coast to coast from Devoran to Portreath but if you have younger ones you may wish to turn around about half way. We got to about the 7 mile mark before turning back. This disused tramway through Cornwall's historic mining sites was one of the earliest railways in Britain. The trail is a mixture of flat and a steady incline (not really noticed by my 11 yr old who was obviously having a good day!) but this decline was a welcome treat on the homeward journey. There is a nice little café, The Bike Chain at Bissoe serving homemade cakes and refreshments. Set off from Devoran where you will find free car parking.
 Lanhydrock Trails
This fantastic new bike trail in the grounds of The National Trust's Lanhydrock House offers a variety of trails for all abilities. Ranging from a gentle 1.5 mile trail to a series of 1-2 mile moderate trails taking you deep into little explored woodland on the estate. If the kids have any energy left after their bike ride they can blow off even more steam in the adventure playground which is located near the Park Café and the car park.  The beautiful Lanhydrock House is the grandest house in Cornwall and is well worth a visit if you have the time.

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