In Cornwall there’s a well known cycle route called the Camel Trail. (I’d never heard it before but then my general knowledge is akin to that of a goldfish). If you find yourself in that part of the world, exploring small villages, eating Cornish pasties or surfing, then it’s worthy of a visit.
The total trail is 17 miles long and nearly completely traffic free. It follows the route of an old disused railway line, which provides a scenic backdrop and best of all it is flat, so there’s no hill climbing.
On a recent visit to Cornwall where my friend had convinced me to go surfing despite the fact most of the UK was covered under snow, I decided to ride with her from Wadebridge to Padstow and back.
We hired a bike for £11 and with our Hybrids set off on the route.
You can find a map of the route on the Sustrans website but you don’t really need one. Simply make your way to the part of the route you want to explore and you’ll soon find signs sending you the right way.
It’s really enjoyable when a route is completely easy to follow and you don’t need to keep looking up directions and stopping.
The disused railway that the route follows once carried china clay, as my friend enthusiastically explained. Now it’s visited by over 400,000 people every year and brings significant revenue to the local area. I commended her on her encyclopaedic like knowledge of the Camel Trail.
The bridge before the town of Padstow is a particularly impressive sight along the way, which lead me to get arty and use the black and white mode of my camera!
The grand finale of the route was a nice big meal in Padstow. There are plenty of pubs and fish and chip shops to choose from.
It was a particularly cold day when we visited with the temperature gauge hovering around 3 degrees. Fortunately we’d packed a few useful bits of gear that got us through. My friend had a pair of Nike gloves from JD Sports beneath her mittens, a big jacket and quite a few layers beneath.
I had my cycling gloves, a warm jacket and even a pair of men’s leggings beneath my jeans. Despite all of that it was still pretty cold so we decided to camp out in a pub for a while to gain our willpower to head back out!
The route back was more of a rush to get back to the warm car! (Shock horror I’m a cyclist who can also drive a car).
I particularly enjoyed the flimsy locks we were provided with from the bike shop. Clearly that kind of thing wouldn’t stand a chance in London!
There are plenty of excellent little routes like this in the UK and I’d love to explore more of them (This time with even more warm gear). If you’ve got any suggestions for great routes you’d recommend, please leave a comment below!
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.