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Destination: Camel Trail

18 January 2019
Whether you’re a power walker, a saunterer, a marathon runner or a leisure cyclist the Camel Trail between Padstow and Wenfordbridge is a great place to get out and enjoy the Cornish countryside.

As you walk through the winding streets of Port Isaac you can see the history of this former trading port set in the cottages’ stonework. The houses stand strong, looking out to sea like the Cornishmen who built them. From the Middle Ages until the 19th century, Port Isaac was a busy port handling coal, timber, pottery and Delabole slate from the nearby Delabole slate quarry. The traditional granite and slate-fronted Cornish houses now hold significant architectural and historical importance, reflecting Port Isaac’s intriguing history. After the introduction of the railway (which took over the transportation of these goods), Port Isaac increasingly became a fishing port and is still used by local fishermen today.

Snaking alongside the fast-flowing River Camel, the 18-mile trail follows the route of an old railway line. That means it’s mostly flat and smooth - making it pushchair, and wheelchair friendly - and a great family day out. The section between Padstow and Wadebridge is the busiest part of the trail - and with good reason. This 5.5 mile stretch links foodie Padstow beside the sea with the old market town of Wadebridge, full of independent shops, cafés and boutiques.

But it’s definitely worth venturing a little further afield and following the trail east of Wadebridge if you prefer things a little less congested. Hiring bikes is probably the best way to cover some ground or drive to one of the many car parks along the trail as a starting point and plan your own circular route.

Accessing the trail from the Bodmin and Wenford Railway makes a perfect day out, too. Catch a steam train from Bodmin Parkway to the Boscarne Junction stop which is located right on the Camel Trail and within 30 minutes’ walk of the Camel Valley Vineyard, Camel Trail Tea gardens and the Borough Arms pub. Check out the timetable before you travel at: www.bodminrailway.co.uk/train-operating-dates

Part of the Camel estuary has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and whatever time of year you drop by there’s always spectacular scenery to enjoy. From daffodils and snowdrops in the spring to lap wings and winter waders on the salt marshes in the winter. Flora and fauna are abundant in a host of habitats along the route. Nature lovers will relish the chance to observe wildlife in its natural habitat and keen twitchers and wildlife watchers will find a number of hides along the route, including an accessible one near Wadebridge. Peregrines are regularly spotted, alongside osprey, kingfishers and otters.

Places to eat

There are lots of places to stop off and enjoy a well-earned coffee, ice cream or meal along the route (as well as some perfect picnic spots). We love Relish in Wadebridge. Tucked away in Foundry Court this café and deli is well worth hunting down. Choose to sit indoors or outside in the shaded courtyard and enjoy a cup of Rising Ground coffee, brewed next door or a light lunch.

The Camel Trail Tea Gardens, located roughly halfway along the trail at Nanstallon, is one of the most popular stops on the trail. Set in a beautiful apple orchard with terraced areas this is a great refreshment stop for cream tea or something stronger as they’re fully licensed. For a true taste of Cornwall, the wines are supplied by neighbouring Camel Valley Vineyard. Owners Mike and Kathryn Hamley also cater for larger groups if you pre-book on 0120874291.

If you love a proper pub then make a beeline for the Blisland Inn close to the Wenfordbridge end of the trail. This real ale heaven wins CAMRA awards for fun - look for the blackboard behind the bar telling you how many different beers have been sold since the current owner took over in 1994.

Hire a bike

Didn’t bring your own wheels? Don’t worry - there are plenty of places to hire a bike along the trail at Padstow, Wadebridge, Bodmin and Wendfordbridge. The trail is very popular in school holidays so it’s a good idea to order your bikes in advance. Only licensed providers are permitted to hire bikes so do check your provider is properly registered.

Did you know?

The Wadebridge and Bodmin Railway Line was one of the first railways in the world. opened in 1834, it carried the first steam trains in Cornwall and was the first railway in West Britain to carry passengers. The North Cornwall line closed for all passenger services in 1967 and the disused line is now the Camel Trail.
Find out more

Buy nearby

The Camel Trail is within easy reach of both our Cornish sites, Southern Halt and Stonerush Lakes. These exclusive holiday retreats are constructed using natural materials that blend into their beautiful surroundings. Floor-to-ceiling windows, luxury interiors and private hot tubs set into wide wooden decking make these exclusive lodges the perfect place to get away from it all.

Find out more about buying your own piece of Cornwall by clicking here.

Photo credit: Rock Oyster Festival

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