At just 11 miles long, the Sustrans Mineral Tramways Coast to Coast is one of the shortest coast to coast rides you can do in the UK. Almost the entire route is traffic free.
Over the summer holidays, while I was in Cornwall, I took the opportunity to ride the route.
As we were close to Portreath, this is where we started the ride. Portreath itself is nice enough, but you can start the ride from near the Elm Farm Cycles camp site and cafe. Elm Farm also provide cycle hire if you’ve not arrived with your own bike.
After a short section on a path next to the road, we turned off and things quickly got fairly bumpy. The ride is fine on a touring bike, a hybrid or a mountain bike, but it’s a little tricky on a road bike. Having said that, my girlfriend was on a road bike. It’s fine, as long as you don’t mind the shaky handlebars and bumpy ride.
As the Sustrans name of the route suggests, the area has a rich mining heritage. Any ore extracted would be transported along the route and to the ports. To this day there are still well conserved historical mine buildings.
Due to the traffic free nature of the route, it’s incredibly popular with families. Especially during the school summer holidays.
I think we can all agree that most important part of a ride like this is knowing where to stop for lunch. We were in a pub rather than a cafe mood and luckily we got chatting to a local family who had repeated the ride a few times. They gave us a review of the different pubs and said above all a visit to the Norway Inn is a must.
On the advice of the friendly strangers, we were not disappointed! Unfortunately, the Norway Inn is a short ride off the main route which is on a busy A road. This was fine for us, though perhaps not ideal for a family with younger cyclists.
There are other options, including the popular Bike Chain Bissoe which is a nice cafe, cycle hire and bike shop along the route.
Following a nice cold pint of Cornish Orchards cider we finished the East to West route in Devoran. By this point we were feeling a little slugging, having greedily enjoyed a large meal at the Norway Inn and thought about the 11 mile cycle back.
Our return was at a noticeably slower pace. We stopped off to take in the views of the impressive Carnon Viaduct. The original viaduct was built in 1863. However, a new viaduct replaced it in 1933. Although all the wood paneling has been removed from the original structure, you can still see the masonry piers. A small board beside the viaduct details its history.
In all the ride can take you as little as two hours to go and come back if you’re going at a fast pace or an entire day if you have a late start, stop off and take it easy. Cycle.travel have an online map if you’d like to take a look at the coast to coast route, however you don’t really need directions as it’s an easy route to follow.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.